A new device that delivers foreign language translations directly to your ear almost instantly has just gone on sale.

The has been hailed as a real-world equivalent of the Babel fish, the famous fictional creature from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s powered by IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, and takes between three and five seconds to complete a translation and play it to you.  

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It currently works across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese.

However, both people in a conversation need to be wearing one.

Lingmo International, the company behind it, claims the Translate One2One is clever enough to avoid common translation stumbling blocks.

It “overcomes many of the contextual challenges associated with common languages, as well as understanding the nuances of local slang and dialects,” the company says. 

“For example, in Spanish ‘LL’ could be pronounced “y”, “j” or “sh”, depending on the dialect.”

Crucially, it doesn’t need to be connected to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in order to work, meaning you can use it in remote locations, and without fear of draining your handset’s battery.

“As the first device on the market for language translation using AI that does not rely on connectivity to operate, it offers significant potential for its unique application across airlines, foreign government relations and even not-for-profits working in remote areas,” said Danny May, the founder of Lingmo.

The  is available for $179 (£140) and will begin shipping next month.

Waverly Labs has created a similar earpiece, the , but that’s due to go on sale later this year.


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