One of the neat futuristic gadgets in Star Trek was the universal translator, a device that would take in any language and output English.
Engadget reports that NEC says they are close to having one of these.
the firm has developed a system that can understand around 50,000 Japanese words and translate them to English text on the mobile’s display in just a second or two.
Now this is not quite Star Trek because you’d need to convert the text to voice, but that technology is here already. This is close, and it’s just another in the long line of technological improvements we all call … home.
I see this as very fertile ground for the open handset alliance. Just think how positively travel would be affected if the language barrier was stripped away! Perhaps even less conflict as people would find it harder to keep from communicating during crises.