One unified global language. It’s an idea that has been around for ages. From the push for Latin as the universal language in the olden days, to the theory that English will take hold as the world’s dominant language in the future, the topic always stirs significant debate.
Proponents argue that English will take hold, pointing to the working language of the Asian trade group ASEAN and the majority of German physicists and chemists, to name a few. But, detractors counter with US Census data indicating the exponential growth of preferred languages like Spanish and Chinese among American families.
Yet very few are talking about how mobile technology is creating a new answer, and in essence, changing the intrinsic nature of the debate. Until recently, travelers and global businesses relied on translators or dictionaries to bridge the language gap across the globe. Today, anyone can travel to a foreign country with just a smartphone or tablet in their hands, and connect with a complete stranger or read a menu within seconds.
Don’t believe it?
Mobile app Jibbigo lets users communicate across languages on the spot, as they are spoken. Just speak into the phone, and Jibbigo will translate what you say into the preferred language of your companion. Similarly, Photo Translator uses new technology to automatically translate written words. Take a picture of any text with your phone’s camera and the app will translate the words into the language of your choosing.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just imagine where we’ll be in another 10 years…
Recently, Google launched the Endangered Language Project, an initiative dedicated to preserving the over 3,000 languages that are expected to disappear within the next century. Combine that with the company’s robust (to put it modestly) mobile ambitions, we can easily see how technology is becoming the missing link between languages around the world.
The notion that we need, or are destined for, one unified global language is a debate for the history books. Mobile technology will soon surpass English and Chinese as the language currency around the globe.