How Universal Translators Will Work

ViA's wearable language translator will look identical to its ViA II wearable computer pictured here.

Photo courtesy ViA

Not counting your native language, how many languages can you speak? Maybe one, possibly two. The majority of us cannot speak any secondary languages, while others speak many languages. Pope John Paul II can speak 10 languages, and others claim to speak dozens. Even if you can speak 100 languages, that's only a small percentage of the more than 6,000 languages that exist in the world. This diversity in languages can make it difficult when trying to communicate with someone who doesn't speak a language you understand.

If you are familiar with "Star Trek," then you know about the universal language translators that the show's writers created to deal with the communication problem posed by a multitude of different languages. ViA, a wearable computer maker, has developed an Earth-based language translator that will be available later this year to the U.S. military and English-speaking consumers.

In this article, we will look at the device itself and how it turns English into any one of almost a dozen languages.