The Auto-Translating Photocopier - Fuji Xerox’s secret lies in networking the unnamed copier to a dedicated translation server and combining this with algorithms that can distinguish between text, drawings and lines for maintaining page layouts. Image Credit: Fuji XEROX via Digital Tokyo
A XEROX That Is NOT ... Lost In Translation
XEROX takes the “branding” tagline - The Document Company - seriously.
Earlier this year, XEROX introduced the concept of the “transient document” where the image from the original that was placed on the photocopy would only last a little longer than the average hours in a full working day. The concept here being that many printouts have a life-span of only a few hours (think of the number of emails that are printed out just to read, or the developing content one uses to proof read), the specially prepared paper will preserve its content for up to 16 hours. After that, the paper can be reused for another round of temporary, but tactile, communications.
Now XEROX R&D has come up with a new bit of magic. How about taking the printed images of Japanese, ... or Spanish, ... and etc. on the paper and have the copy come out translated in English?
This item from Digital Tokyo –
Photocopier translates Japanese to English at touch of button
Posted By: J Mark Lytle - Digital World Tokyo - September 20th, 2007
Specialist translators could soon be heading for job centers across the world if Fuji Xerox makes good on the technology it has developed for its latest prototype photocopy machine.
The device, currently on show [Subscription link] only in Japan, can scan a printed sheet of Japanese text from a newspaper or magazine and churn out a translation of it in Chinese, English or Korean while retaining the original layout. Flip a switch and the linguistic parsing works in the opposite direction too.
Fuji Xerox’s secret lies in networking the unnamed copier to a dedicated translation server and combining this with algorithms that can distinguish between text, drawings and lines for maintaining page layouts.
While the concept of a one-touch translation machine is a wonderful idea for anyone who regularly works in multiple languages (guilty…), let’s hope the technology moves on from the current generation of machine-translation (MT) software that can be seen mangling sentences on sites like Babel Fish and Google Translate.
So, in 2007, XEROX document photocopy magic gives us “disappearing ink” and the equivalent of changing dimes into nickels (and presumably back to dimes again) … what’s next?
Documents that escape from the bondage of a straightjacket after being locked in a trunk and lowered into a lake?