Submitted by AmericanMonsterCock t3_11c1qzj in Futurology

With AI technology like DeepL and OpenAI jumping leaps and bounds lately, as well as AR technology, I was just wondering, do you think it'll be long before we can just rely on AI to do all the language learning for us? If the AI can learn from its mistakes and user feedback to pick up on things like slang and local phrases, then it could be a game-changer in my opinion. Combine this with something like your earbuds that can use their microphone to pick up the foreign language someone is speaking in real time, or AR glasses, I think it isn't too far off. If anyone knows about some interesting projects to keep a lookout for i'd be very pleased to see them linked below!

EDIT: Seems like people misunderstood. Of course you would learn your native language and whatever other language you want. But when you're in some foreign country where no one speaks english, wouldn't it be helpful to have a tool like this so you don't have to learn 50 languages to be able to talk to locals around the world? There are a lot of cultures that are pretty much untouched by the rest of the world because of the language barrier. I really don't understand why people are crying in the comments about havin a tool that would effectively make it possible to do such a thing.



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Adghar t1_ja15w61 wrote

I hate to sound like a Luddite, but learning languages doesn't strike me as something people should ever want to stop learning. Language learning usually provides more benefits than just communication with others - you learn cultural context, different ways of seeing things, etc. Certainly, a universal translator would really come in handy, but even with the most effective and convenient translators out there, people would still want to learn other languages.


BoysenberryLanky6112 t1_ja1b514 wrote

I learned a lot about English when studying French in college. Like a lot of English I "learned" by hearing other people and conversing growing up, but when I learned about the rules in French it made me think a lot about those same rules in English.


SomeoneSomewhere1984 t1_ja19be0 wrote

There's a difference between wanting to do it, and needing to do it. Yes some people will want to. Will a computer effectively translate when speaking to someone so you don't have to you if you don't want to? That would be great.


MarginCalled1 t1_ja1pce7 wrote

Microsoft is testing software within their 'Teams' program that will translate spoken language in real time between multiple parties.

I'd estimate that by 2025 ( 2 years from now ) human translators will start disappearing at a rapid pace. Call Center workers will also start seeing large layoffs due to AI at this point as well.

Source: I work in AI and have friends all over the industry.


nbgrout t1_ja1fqrn wrote

And knowing more words/languages expands your capability for thought.

Language is more than just some sounds and scribbles that directly translate to person's/places/things. It is very often impossible to express exactly the same thought in a different language because the idea itself has cultural context and meaning imbued by the language.

For example, in English we would say "I like bananas". In Spanish the closest translation is "me gusta bananas," but those are fundamentally two different statements. In English, you are the subject taking affirmative action on the object (banana) by "liking" it. In Spanish, you are instead the passive object being acted upon by the subject (the banana) which is "pleasing" you (gustar ~ to please). Think about that, it seems subtle but consider the implications of being passive, acted upon by the world vs being active, acting up on the world.


sebastianmorningwood t1_ja1kr3o wrote

I agree. When I studied Japanese I realized that the verb is at the end of the sentence, forcing the listener to pay attention until the end.


leaky_wand t1_ja4hcee wrote

Japanese also has among the shortest gaps between the speaker finishing their sentence and the listener replying. There are so many early indicators within the sentence priming the user to expect a certain path of meaning ("This may be a little strange, but…" or "If" occurring at the beginning, or a series of noun modifiers before introducing the subject, etc.) that the last few words of a sentence are often a formality and sometimes omitted altogether. You’d be surprised how infrequently people are truly listening all the way to the end, they are usually thinking of their reply halfway through.


Divallo t1_ja1q4bw wrote

I like this take. Hard to call a guy a luddite who chooses not to use technology only so he himself can learn more.

Although, if you judged someone else for using a translator instead of learning multiple language though you'd circle right back to luddite because then you'd be shaming the use of technology at that point.

I'm thinking learning is great but people only have so much sand in their hourglass to spend and even if they aren't studying Portuguese they could be studying something else instead.

Also a universal translator can't exist because if you made one I'd invent a dumb language just to say the device can't interpret it.


Shot-Job-8841 t1_ja2qc6z wrote

> cultural context

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Diplomacy would suffer massively if we used software translation exclusively. And I wouldn’t want a psychologist who was unable to understand you without a software program.


Educational-Song3568 t1_ja2lcji wrote

You also learn how to think differently. Each language has its own way of describing the world. Hard to explain without being bilingual.


sudden_cookie44 t1_ja2rm3l wrote

Agree. Fwiw I feel like chatgpt takes culture into consideration and translate euphemism pretty well. Where Google translates stuff literally and a lot will get lost in translation.


heavy-metal-goth-gal t1_ja5xg1s wrote

At least learn some funny curse words and phrases to hit on people and fun or interesting things like Schadenfreude and Razbliuto and Yugen and Hygge. It's cool to find out about other cultures.


PenPaperTiger t1_ja2lvpx wrote

What are the underlying mechanisms? How would the potential to 'learn cultural context and see things differently' by learning a language compare to the potential to learn about other cultures and encounter different ways of seeing things by communicating with people from other cultures through a universal translator?


Aggravating_Kick525 t1_ja240sq wrote

Wanting to be able to do things yourself makes you a “Luddite” now? You tech bros are corny as hell.


Timbershoe t1_ja2cdk5 wrote

That is literally what a Luddite is. Someone who opposes a form of automation.

I’m really confused why you would think using the right word makes you corny or a ‘tech bro’?


Aggravating_Kick525 t1_ja4mnqg wrote

It’s corny because a lot of you are using it to mock anyone with concerns over rapidly advancing AI tech, and those who prefer to stick to traditional ways/develop their own skills. Neither of which are inherently worthy of scorn.

And Tech Bro is just a general term for a guy working/interested in Tech, which is what the vast majority of people here are, including the guy I was responding to. So I’m confused why you take objection to that term?


singularity2070 t1_ja3y08c wrote

Learning a new language takes a lot of effort and time, and not everyone has unlimited free time. by the way do you use gps when you want to go to a place you don't know or you follow maps or you ask people how to go to this place??


Aggravating_Kick525 t1_ja4hlbp wrote

You’re arguing against a straw man. I never said it’s always better to do everything yourself, only that you shouldn’t try to shame people by calling them luddites for taking pride in the skills they developed for themselves.


Jonsj t1_ja2ca3v wrote

Why? Language is just a friction that stop us from communicating, why did we learn how to stop washing clothes by hand? Or run instead of flying?

It's just a block, something that makes life harder, not easier. It's a tool, you would learn far more if you could talk to everyone, far more perspectives and ways of looking at thing's.

People would understand each other better, less misunderstandings. You don't sound like a Luddite, you sound like someone that thinks the status quo has a benefit, just because it had been this way, not because it has an actual benefit.


Shot-Job-8841 t1_ja2qykp wrote

> Language is just a friction that stop us from communicating

There’s an entire school of psychology that considers language to be both the medium and the message. The idea is that your thoughts are shaped by language.

Calling it “just friction” is a gross oversimplification that treats vast amounts of salient nuance as so much obsolete baggage. Language is not a vestigial organ to be resigned to some psycho-cultural waste bin.

The wide variety of languages in the word provide more material for innovation: certain concepts are genuinely easier to express in specific languages because there is no truly appropriate equivalent.


Jonsj t1_ja4617n wrote

Within one language there is plenty of jargon and it constantly developes to fit the needs of the user.

This always happens with cultural, people confuse the function of a language (to communicate) with something special in of itself.

A good example is theater, theater used to be the dominant form of long form narrative entertainment, it was one of the best ways to satisfy the need people felt for this kind of entertainment. Now it's movies, or even tv-series. Poetry used to be very popular, now we moved on. How do you know that innovation is driven by different languages? The lingua franca of science is English and the majority of innovations are published in English.

If 10 people in a room all speak the same language, 10 people in the other room speaks all different languages, which group has the best chance of trading ideas?

Innovation comes from the the mixing of ideas, this is best understood if people can understand each other. Science would not be were it is if there were not a common understanding, that's actually one of the first thing you learn. Jargon, you learn the language of your discipline, to better understand previous knowledge and to communicate your ideas to others.

If my teacher or professor speaks a different language than me, how does that foster innovation? It does not, cooperation comes from understanding each other, not not understanding each other.


Shot-Job-8841 t1_ja46nft wrote

Poetry is still very popular where I live, which brings me to my point. I feel like you’re dismissing alternative perspectives without giving them adequate consideration because they don’t correspond with your personal experiences.


Jonsj t1_ja4a8ns wrote

It's not an alternate perspective, poetry used to be very popular, movies, tv shows etc has surpassed poetry.

11.7% read poetry once a year in the US, the average US citizen watch 141 hours of tv a month!

The scale is not comparable. Poetry was just a small comparison to make a point. I am more curious to hear how people not understanding each other is good for innovation?


TheSensibleTurk t1_ja1hmvl wrote

Without going into specifics due to NDAs and such, as a contracted linguist I can attest that there already are third party technologies that allow for instant translation and transliteration with minimal and acceptable amount of loss vs a human. But the government still wants humans to do it in matters pertaining to public safety, national security or the military because human linguists and translators may be required to give deposition in court cases. When you take into account things like FISA warrants where the judges are especially stringent and the government has to clear a high bar, the government absolutely prefers human agency lest the courts or other observers accuse it of rigging the AI/machine. So, I don't think we'll see it in the government sector due to hose accountability and judicial concerns.


orincoro t1_ja3o9vs wrote

And let’s be real for a minute. If the government has the opportunity to rig such a system, it will.


VulcanMind1 t1_ja20l45 wrote

I totally disagree with your assessment of AI ability for translation. I've used Facebook translation, Google text and verbal recognition to translate. I also have friends that do translation services.

The reality is there are many examples of sarcasm or cultural explanation that doesn't allow for direct translation.


BobLoblaw_BirdLaw t1_ja2acwp wrote

Sounds like you’re using basic public systems as are your friends. While that guy is probably working on the tech that hasn’t been released. So what exactly are you disagreeing with, something you or your friends haven’t seen yet ?


VulcanMind1 t1_ja2ykot wrote

I'm saying that a robot will always fail in a translation where cultural context is needed and only a professional translator such as my friends that do this job will be able to bridge that gap.

For example "Where's the Craic?" First off a robot would hear this expression as "Where's the crack?" because the programing is likely based on US English and not Irish English. Next if this was a court of law, the Irish speaker would be getting hauled off to jail for trying to buy drugs!

These translation robots will never be able to translate yob talkers to American English and anyone that down voted my last post are a bunch of slags.


cossington t1_ja3iykz wrote

I'm a professional interpreter and translator. AI will eat our lunch. It's simply a data issue. Google translate and similar models use a dictionary approach, a bit more complicated than 1 to 1 word translation but same overall principles. Once we train AI models on actual speech, with slang, common mistakes and cultural references, highly accurate real time interpretation will be accurate enough. These models won't follow a 1 to 1 word translation.


r2k-in-the-vortex t1_ja2gz0b wrote

imho Google translator has long ago solved the need to learn the language for basic communication. But language is a lot more than understanding menu at an eatery. Language is the medium that carries the culture and nationality, without understanding the language, your understanding of the culture will be very superficial. A translator app, no matter how good, will not suffice to live in a foreign country. Visiting for work or tourism, that's no problem, there is no need to speak the language for that, but if you move somewhere, you need to learn the local language.


rileyoneill t1_ja17je4 wrote

If you speak English, we are probably there. The world is rapidly adopting English to the point where it is becoming the universal second language.


NeatlyCritical t1_ja1azfy wrote

But ....Esperanto!


vercertorix t1_ja1l02x wrote

If people went for it, I’d learn it as a universal language, we could all be learning it from childhood along with our native language and all be on even ground professionally, though it seems like inevitably we’d start asking ourselves why we’re bothering with our native languages, maybe not all of us, but enough to started sliding into a single language planet with a few holdouts.


NxPat t1_ja2epnm wrote

I’m married to a Japanese woman, can’t imagine daily conversations dependent upon a piece of technology. Nuance, word choice, tone, volume, intonation etc and we haven’t even touched on visual cues. Until your language app is a subconscious implant, I don’t see technology being anything more than an aid.


Fingerman2112 t1_ja2tpi2 wrote

But you still have tone and visual cues. If you’re married to someone I’d assume you share a language. Legal and sensitive diplomatic matters you might need a human. But for business, casual encounters and even most routine medical encounters bring on the Babelfish bro.


Rogermcfarley t1_ja2oeqa wrote

That's all this current AI is, a tool. There are no Victorian lamp lighters any more because electric lighting was invented. There are no VHS video stores anymore because DVDs and Blu Rays exist and whilst they co-exist most people stream There's 1000s of examples whereby technology automated or made job roles extinct and this is no different currently. We will adapt and use the tools given to us. Eventually when machines can replace so many of our roles then we'll need technology to integrate this commuting power with our biology. That is some way off being fully realised.


alittlebitaspie t1_ja1jpcy wrote

The things learning A language (as in one) does to the brain is important, and due to concepts not being fully expressed across all languages, you could end up with a sum total that would be lossy at best. Also, the language you speak shapes your mind and how you are able to look at the world. There are things that the meat puppets served by those AIs would irretrievably lose in the conversion, and I'm not sure that we even fully understand what all of those would be until well after.

Right now AI development is like old 'solutions' to conservation problems by dropping in X or Y species. We will find many disasters, some that can't be undone, for each mild success. The rates for wild successes will be even worse. Humans are a natural system, as is their society, and our brains develop and have evolved to develop within that system. We have to make sure that we don't leave behind important information and development chasing developing ease.


vercertorix t1_ja1kd1j wrote

From what I’ve seen machine translators are not currently always clear on the jargon for each subject matter, that is, as in an example from a movie I heard, to some people a floater is a dead body taken out of the water while to some it’s someone who works as a freelancer. Similarly, different professions use the same words differently and machine translation can miss the context. Potentially it could be trained to recognize it, but might take a lot of effort and language keeps evolving. Beyond that sometimes it needs to know not to translate something, names of towns, acronyms, etc. Not saying it can’t be done, but I think that especially in professional jargon heavy documents and speech, there might be a higher concentration of word choice mistakes. Potentially, that could be helped with a simple “Profession” selector, but you’d have to build lexicons for each and keep it up to date, for every language, and if you change topics you might have to manually change. I wouldn’t make that automatic or I’m betting if they happen to use a couple words fitting another topic it might accidentally trigger a change, and suddenly you’re using nautical navigation terms, while they’re talking about cooking seafood.


HS_HowCan_That_BeQM t1_ja1i7ws wrote

I thought idioms would be the hardest. Then I asked ChatGPT the following:

'What would be the German equivalent of "down the drain" as in "All that work was for nothing, it's down the drain"?'

And damned if it didn't answer:

'The German equivalent of "down the drain" in the context you provided would be "umsonst" or "vergeblich". So, you could say: "Die ganze Arbeit war umsonst/vergeblich, es ist alles für die Katz."'

fuer die Katz was my understanding of translation of the English idiom. And an AI "knew" that. Although it threw in as an afterthought, deciding to concentrate on the "...for nothing" instead of "down the drain".


Elegant_Pressure_984 t1_ja21s8p wrote

It didn’t “know” that, it’ll have scraped it from a webpage like Google search would have.


jk-9k t1_ja2f3he wrote

Yeah doesn't this show that it doesn't know anything when it missed the answer right under its nose (yay for idioms!)


HS_HowCan_That_BeQM t1_ja3jcf1 wrote

Hence my putting "knew" in quotes. Didn't want to be guilty of anthropomorphism.

Ah, but Google search didn't. I queried "german equivalent of down the drain" and it returned the literal translation "in Eimer". Even in the first five or six results. Google Translate English->German translation of "all that work, down the drain" returned "

While I realize that chatGPT is just a dressed up Eliza psychoanalysis (from the 80's), nevertheless when it is correct, it looks very impressive. Emphasis on "when it is correct". I've also experienced results when the answer is not correct.

Aside: if one ever watches old episodes of the medical drama "House", there are numerous misdiagnoses before the actual solution is achieved. I assume that a medical professional draws on education + past experience to come up with a diagnosis. And a real-life doctor can be wrong. Would an AI trained on actual cases (vs using WEB-MD) be any less reliable than a human? Especially if it is fed corrections when it is wrong. Heuristics for the win, human an AI both.


Zestyclose-Ad-9420 t1_ja9ht57 wrote

We shouldnt anthropomorphise but people trying to monopolise the word "know" is ridiculous.... obviously it is not abstracting and visualising the individual concepts and stringing them together with language... but it knows that language object A and language object B are linked and it learned that by scanning its environment, the data it was given for training.

Saying that is sufficiently different from a person learning a word by, you guessed it, scanning the environment for links, that you cannot use the word "know" is pedantic and so stupid.


HS_HowCan_That_BeQM t1_jaal3zc wrote

Not sure if there is an ad hominem attack in there. And if there is, I'm not sure whom it addresses.


Zestyclose-Ad-9420 t1_jaazxqx wrote

ok but do you think that, semantically, an AI can know stuff or only "know" stuff.


HS_HowCan_That_BeQM t1_jacz8mj wrote

Wow, I'm going to take a pass on answering. I have typed, backspaced, and re-typed my thoughts three or four times and can't come up with a reasonable definition of know vs. "know".

Even the Turing Test of intelligent behavior didn't bail me out. I don't feel qualified to venture beyond opinion as to whether the one AI I have played with, chatGPT, would truly pass the test. And whatever I have done, it is not a true Turing Test as I am not comparing chatGPT's answers to a human's answers and trying to discern the difference.


pigeonsmasher t1_ja5bayh wrote

There’s nothing esoteric about learning idioms. Amazon immediately turned up several books worth of German-English idiom translations. I learned dozens of Russian idioms in college and I barely paid attention. Especially considering it’s a language tool, idioms have got to be some of the first things it learned


HS_HowCan_That_BeQM t1_ja82sab wrote

When you learned idioms, you probably looked at them from the encountered point of view. Meaning: I'm reading this Russian text and this idiomatic phrase occurs. Oh, that's the equivalent of saying this in my native tongue.

But it is trickier to be looking at an idiomatic native text and intuit: I must replace this with some equivalent when translating this to Russian.

My favorite book about the vagaries and pitfalls of translation is Douglas Hofstadter's "Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language". It covers the difficulties of translating idioms, puns et al. And those don't even cover whether translating a poem means "word-for-word", "rhyme-scheme", "thematically" or some other criterion.

So, maybe idioms are not a difficult test of an AI's competency. But I still feel the fundamentals of natural language will be part of the determination.

Edited: to remove a redundant phrase (idiomatic native idiom).


UniversalMomentum t1_ja1c6j4 wrote

It depends on why you want to learn a language. If you need to just for working a certain job then yeah we can remove the need for some jobs to require you to learn a 2nd language, but if you want to go market your business globally or live in another country and really get a long with people you probably don't want to rely on just a translator. It would still be very useful, but showing off you can learn a language or play an instrument kind of builds confidence in you that using a translator doesn't, so there will be value to that probably forever.. also sports.. as silly as they are ;)

It's kind of like all humans are in a constant show off contest and that won't ever change much, so some of those benefits will always be marketable and thus in some level of demand.


Jodeth t1_ja1rq3u wrote

I f***ing hope the human race never gets to that point.


Adnan7631 t1_ja1t88k wrote

Let’s pause for a moment and actually consider what AI technology is actually doing in order to translate or to give texts.

At a basic level, AI works by taking tons of existing data and identifying patterns. Those patterns are then used to give an answer for a question (ie. translate this…). These patterns are generally pretty basic (like, ChatGPT seems to be pretty advanced, but all it is doing is predicting what the next word/phrase is based on a massive database of writing.) AI has absolutely no conception of what it is saying; it is just spitting out a series of patterns as generated by its algorithm and background data.

Working backwards, this tells us that an AI has to have developed a pattern before it can give an answer, and my extension, it has to have already seen a lot of data that supports the answer. By extension, somebody would have had to ALREADY done a whole lot of translating and then given those translations to the AI before it can be useful to you. And, because languages change over time (through slang and local phrases, among other methods), this inherently means that there is a perpetual gap in the knowledge of any translation AI that makes having SOME people available to translate absolutely necessary, at least barring a complete reinvention of how AI is currently done.


HairyPossibility676 t1_ja1vlk0 wrote

Can I downvote this more than once? Just enough already.


AmericanMonsterCock OP t1_ja2qdbg wrote

What's the problem? I asked a genuine question..

Of course i don't mean that we would just drop languages like what the fuck. There exists communities out there in the world which remain unknown for most english speakers. God forbid we try and bridge the gap so more people can come together without having to learn 50 languages.


zephyredx t1_ja2h1en wrote

I think we're still very far off. If you are an avid fan of Japanese anime, manga, and indie games like me, you know that the translations we have, shoddy and unprecise as they are (despite help from machine translations), represent only the tip of the iceberg. There is a mountain of content that remains untranslated, and probably will never be translated because the cultural gap and nuances are too hard to explain to a Western audience. Also even the small fraction of works that DO have translations, are often full of inaccuracies or heavy-handed artistic license. Machines can already translate individual tokens pretty well, but I find it doubtful that there will be any other way to overcome the nuance barrier in the upcoming decades, unless you do it the hard way, i.e. study the language yourself and participate in its culture.


brycyclecrash t1_ja2iqyw wrote

Tons of Reddit users can't write in what I assume is their native language. I only use this in English. So even the native language needs more study from most users. Myself included.


Imaginary_Passage431 t1_ja1fjwj wrote

Probably not for remote communication but yes for real life communication with people from other countries.


TokkiJK t1_ja1ii4o wrote

It would be useful.

Altho learning languages I feel gives me context for understanding nuances that I wouldn’t be able to if someone just translated. No matter how accurately.


grizwa t1_ja23nfr wrote

ive already seen various live subtitling/translation things in early development, it really isnt that far off


moonlit_scents t1_ja248j6 wrote

I think it would be hard for someone to communicate if they didn't learn at least one language!


egocantin t1_ja2bfw7 wrote

It's exciting to see how rapidly technology is advancing in the field of language translation. With the advent of, I believe we're closer than ever before to achieving a future where we won't need to learn languages. I'm optimistic that one of the big three (Google, Deepl, Lingolink) will soon release a live translation app that will make learning languages obsolete. Maybe within the next 1-2 years.


Hot_Blackberry_6895 t1_ja2gisq wrote

Learning of language is much entwined with learning and understanding the culture. One feeds the other and not bothering to learn a language oneself would make one a very sterile companion to the native speakers of that language.


Ragnarotico t1_ja2htab wrote

You do realize you still need to understand at least one language to understand what the AI is communicating right?


Left_Valuable_1974 t1_ja2mgl5 wrote

For as long as there is language, there will be "language learning". We are not just born with full fluency in a language and AI, as OP has described it, will not change that. Furthermore, for as long as people of different cultures make non-language-knowing babies with each other, at least some of them will be multi-lingual.

Final prediction: a few thousand years at best (if humanity makes it) (but in the event we don't make it, that may be the only scenario in which language learning is no longer necessary. Because there won't be language at all)


Zireael07 t1_ja2mklb wrote

As someone who majored in English (non-native) and is a native speaker of a Slavic language and knows several other languages to varying levels...

VERY far off. Currently available translation tools make mistakes in basic texts, even when translating to/from English which has the largest corpus (="body of linguistic data") of all languages. Trying to translate to or from any of the inflectional languages (like Estonian or many Slavic languages) will only result in laughs.

However, I see two niches for AI to step up. One is wordbooks/dictionaries for foreign scripts, esp. CJK (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) - heck, I know electronic dictionaries already exist for Japanese AND are in use by native speakers since outside of joyo kanji, there are hundreds of rare/almost obsolete characters even a native speaker won't know. Second niche is some helper apps, e.g. annotating the text you are reading, or remembering how you translated this phrase (NOT word!).


Aaronindhouse t1_ja2n7cz wrote

I don’t think it will completely replace the need to learn languages. Case and point, if you are in a relationship with someone who speaks another language, your magic device won’t always be charged at home and will always leave something to be desired in the communication. It will be great for many things, but I think the only way to eliminate the need to learn other languages is if everyone is using the same language, not necessarily using ai to translate the other ones.


disturbedsoil t1_ja5nu6h wrote

Counter to that it seems like humans in a relationship be it work, play, romance pick up communication remarkably well.


Sabotimski t1_ja2oivh wrote

Devils advocate here: Considering the current and anticipated advances in technologies like AI and robotics, why would you learn any skill at all? Reduced to an utterly dumb consumer how satisfied would you be?


Javi2 t1_ja2sut5 wrote

Different people different opinions I guess.

To me, communicating with a person in front of me through a third party (whether human or software) is not the same as communicating with them directly.

For me, the exception would be a physical inability to communicate directly (a la Stephen Hawking).


Esoteric_Derailed t1_ja2td4l wrote

Almost as far off as we are from not having to learn to read or write?


SaintLouisduHaHa t1_ja2zv8e wrote

In terms of the "I don't speak the language and need to get where I'm going/eat/not die" we're pretty much there. In terms of the scifi "I can carry on a totally normal conversation with someone because of this fancy schmancy universal translator", that will likely never exist. Basic sentence structure means that you're always going to be a full sentence behind and it would make most social interactions pretty irritating.


oboshoe t1_ja32raf wrote

in the us we have been there for a long long time.

almost 80% of american do quite well only knowing english.

while learning an additional language can be quite advantageous, there isn't a strong need to know anything other than english.


starfyredragon t1_ja3fuyi wrote

Already there.

I was doing that with the Vuzix blade AR glasses hooked into an automated speech transtription and google translate. So after I selected language, I just saw subtitles with whatever people were saying.


Ortega-y-gasset t1_ja3stem wrote

Most Americans are monolingual anyway so, we did it?


jackneefus t1_ja3vwzz wrote

Two-three million years ago, we remapped an entire part of the left frontal lobe to handle language. I think that part of the brain is going to continue to seek language in one way or another.


acm8221 t1_ja4rk5f wrote

Pretty far off, I’d think. You can get by on basic communication with VR translators but part of learning languages is the basic context of phrases and metaphors that can’t be conveyed easily.

If you just want to get by, we can do that now. If you want to understand, long way to go.


_China_ThrowAway t1_ja58knl wrote

I moved to China a long time ago (pre smartphones) and learned Chinese. I don’t regret it one bit, it has definitely made life a lot easier and opened up new doors, but it has been interesting to watch the translation apps evolve over the last 15 years. Today it’s incredibly common for new arrivals to never learn any Chinese but regularly use the inbuilt image and text translation function on wechat (the Chinese mega app). It’s not remotely perfect and they are missing out on a lot of environmental language, but it’s already to the point where you can live in a country where almost no one speaks your language and not only survive but actually thrive. I think socially acceptable wearables (glasses/contacts and hearing aid like devices) will be a game changer though. When translation in audio-visually imposed, it might possibly to really live in the world and never learn a new language (like in Star Trek with the universal translator).


Catmunchy t1_ja5nve5 wrote

For me, a language learned brings in a new perspective and way to organize your thoughts. I find it keeps me always thinking about how different words relate despite the differences. I think we're not far off from not needing it in order to communicate globally, but I agree with a lot of the posts that we should never stop wanting to learn new languages. If anything, I hope the future will give us even more free time that we can then use to learn more languages.


Rmanthumbs t1_ja1knyz wrote

10-15 years probably for spot on simultaneous interpretation.


Thufir_My_Hawat t1_ja1m0sq wrote

I think the only thing that hasn't been solved to, at minimum, workable specifications is localization -- as in, taking media in one language and converting it into another. Too much creative work goes into it that -- rewriting jokes that are reliant on cultural references or puns, recontextualizing norms that are unspoken but not universal, even rewriting characters who fit a trope that only exists in a single culture.

Only a general AI would be capable of that, and we may still be decades away from that, since most funding has been diverted away from it towards ML. But for communication? We're already there for the most part. Might not be able to get good machine translation for.... idk, Georgian, but any major language is already good enough to write a business email, so long as the other party knows a machine did it.


Psychological-Sport1 t1_ja240sk wrote

If I remember correctly science has shown us that it’s much harder to learn languages once you get into your teen years as the brain starts to use different circuits which are also not as effective so that it becomes frustrating to try to and turns off, like most of the population from even tryin to learn. That said, making it a university requirement to have a second language to get into say, electronics engineering was frustrating, especially since most high schools (in 1970’s bc Canada) made you take French in grade 8 if you wanted to go into sciences and electronics engineering etc. Of course some people would say that if you can’t handle learning some French, then why are you going into fields that require massive amounts of learning, but I say, if most peoples brains make it uncomfortably difficult (by forces of biology and evolutionary processes), which are out of your control, to learn a second language, then that’s just a part of our screwed up culture and requirements of some non-technology types of people who have naturally ensconced themselves into university admissions culture and who studied literature, language, culture and think everybody should be able to easily learn the same. The other annoying thing is that the rule was that after the first weeks, most discussions in the class would not be English but French, so if you were a slow learne, you’re screwed.


Zacaro12 t1_ja29pyy wrote

Like programming languages or like multiple languages to speak and communicate with each other? About 40% people are monolingual so… we’re about halfway there.


Omnivud t1_ja2bl2n wrote

Tower of Babylon 2.0 gonna be lit I wonter what sky daddy will punish us with this time


Cornflake6irl t1_ja2ij6a wrote

Everyone in the world should know English, Mandarin, French and Spanish, but we don't... we should.


orincoro t1_ja3nlwp wrote

Your brain will never not benefit from learning languages. There’s also utterly no way to understand the success or failure of a given translation matrix without people who understand both.

Finally, you will never achieve high level communication with people who don’t understand any of the same languages as you, so this seems like a silly line of inquiry.