What Is the Role of IoT in the Translation Sector?

The Translation Landscape Transformed for Travel and Business  

Translation devices and apps used to be standalone gadgets that relied on pre-loaded dictionaries or limited language databases. Smart translators now connect to the internet through multiple communication channels, including Wi-Fi or cellular networks, enabling real-time translation with access to vast online resources. A random traveler can use a pocket-sized IoT-enabled smart translator while exploring a foreign country. The device, connected to the internet, can instantly translate live communication, texts, street signs, menus, and conversations in real-time. Examples of such devices may include: 

  • Pocketalk Translator

  • Travis Touch Go 

  • WT2 Plus 

  • ili Instant Offline Translator 

  • Sigmo: Sign Language Translator Glove 

  • ili Translator Earbuds 

  • Vasco Translator Premium 7 

IoT and Cloud-based Language Services 

At the same time, IoT has paved the way for cloud-based language translation services. These services utilize extensive language databases, machine learning algorithms, and continuous improvements based on user feedback. They are cloud-based and hosted on powerful servers in data centers. Notable examples of these services include Google Cloud Translation API, Amazon Translate, Microsoft Translator API, and IBM Watson Language Translator. IoT-enabled translation services eliminate language barriers, even in hard-to-reach areas, like the warehouses of multinational e-commerce companies. 

Pocket-friendly and Wearable Translation Gadgets 

Wearable and small portable translation gadgets powered with IoT, such as earpiece or small handheld translators, are a new way of cross-cultural communication during travel and international business trips. Beyond all other goals peculiar to language devices, they can be helpful during emergencies for those who do not speak the local language or as assistance for deaf and hard of hearing. Among the most popular portable and wearable devices are the following: 

  • Pocketalk: A handheld translation device with built-in mobile data connectivity. It supports 85 languages and allows seamless communication without relying on Wi-Fi.  https://www.pocketalk.net/

  • ili Instant Offline Translator. While ili primarily operates offline, there is a version called "ili Pro" that offers online connectivity. It supports real-time translations in over 50 languages. https://iamili.com/

  • WT2 Plus Translator. The WT2 Plus offers real-time translation in over 40 languages and uses Bluetooth for wireless communication with a smartphone app.  https://www.wt2plus.com/

What’s Happening with IoT and Voice Assistants? 

According to Juniper Research, the presence of voice assistants in American households can reach 275 million by the end of 2023. IoT provides smart speakers with always-on connectivity and cloud computing resources for processing user voice commands and queries as well as enabling interaction with various smart devices and appliances. This means real-time and continuous learning capabilities. Voice assistants, like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, have become commonplace in homes and offices: 

  • Echo (Alexa)  

  • Google Home (Google Assistant) 

  • Apple HomePod (Siri) 

  • Sonos One (Google Assistant, Alexa)  

  • JBL Link Series (Google Assistant)  

IoT's Impact on the Medical Tourism Sector and Translation 

Research from Berg Insight suggests 8.6 million Europeans were using connected healthcare solutions in 2021. This subsequently contributes to improved patient care and communication, especially when it comes to the medical tourism sector. The global medical tourism market is projected to grow up to $53.51 billion in 2028. This means a growing demand for affordable translation services and gadgets as well as wireless IoT connectivity. Multilingual communication in the hospitals, remote medical translations, information kiosk translation, translation for medical staff are only half of the use cases where IoT-enabled services are applied. Some of the products and services involve translation tablets, smart earpieces, smart kiosks, and more.  

IoT SIMs Powering Language Translation

Users of translation devices desire constant functionality in the right place at the right time. For travelers, it means global reach; for patients, it means coverage in hard-to-reach medical centers; and for multicultural families, it means on-the-go solutions with access to translation databases anywhere. Manufacturers recognize this need and are turning to wireless alternatives like IoT SIMs, which offer cloud-based data, the ability to switch between operators and networks (3G, 4G, LPWAN), and remote management and updates as needed. 

Pocketalk, SoftBank Corp. & 1NCE Bringing Forth IoT and Translation

Pocketalk, the global leader of translation solutions, and SoftBank, a Japan-based telecommunications and IT operator, have formed a strategic alliance to market Pocketalk translation solutions globally, aiming to expand their businesses and sell 1m Pocketalk series units within 3 years. In addition, Pocketalk will use 1NCE's IoT SIM cards/connectivity solutions to provide translation devices with quality communication in areas without Wi-Fi. The partnership seeks to break down language barriers and accelerate and meet the growing demand for translation solutions.

Find more about the partnership.