_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).