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Graduate Student - Mechanical Engineering,

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Is our destiny to be one world with one language?

Are we heading towards a world with one common language?
If you think so, do you believe that it will happen naturally (because globalization requires it) or because of one country's leading "soft power"?
Would it enhance international cooperation and promote better understanding between countries?

On the other hand, what would it mean for human cultures and civilizations?

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    Aug 4 2011: I am a big fan of keeping all the languages and simply inventing the Star Trek 'Universal Translator'. I think we would lose too much in uniformity.
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      Aug 5 2011: My sister, who is a translator, doesn't believe that it would be possible, saying the translation depends on some things that can't be generated by algorithms... But, I've met a guy who is working on that kind of technology at an institute in Germany :D
      • Aug 5 2011: Wouldn't such a device be made possible by incorporating a sensor array which could recognize and factor in things like location, facial features, pigmentation, body language (perhaps even facial and voice recognition across a network) ect.? It would of course require a very large, reliable and accurate database.
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          Aug 6 2011: Sklyar! thanks for embracing the fun behind the idea. Yes, all of these things are quite possible and many of the devices that we thought impossible that were originally seen in Sci Fi have become realities- like communicators = cell phones.
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          Aug 6 2011: I think it's possible, at least for everyday conversation, but translating poetry is something else. I'll give another reference to star track :D There's an episode where they find a planet with no music, but the "people" are fascinated with mathematics. The bold doctor gives them classical music, and they instantly start making new compositions with their computers. But the doctor is disappointed because there is no "poetry" in that kind of computer generated music.
          It's like google translator :) almost never gets the point :P
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          Aug 7 2011: I think all it would require is, like you say, a sensor array.. but it would probably only need to understand context. For example, the word shalom is often incorrectly translated into the English word "Peace"... although in Hebrew it does mean "Peace", it also has other meanings (such as "oneness" and "completeness") - hence to say shalom can be a form of blessing, that you wish the person to be at peace with God, as in be kept united with God.
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          Aug 8 2011: Marija! I loved your response! I remember that episode vaguely. Perhaps it highlights that we can move forward with technology but that the human touch will always be needed. Your point about poetry is profoundly true!
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          Aug 9 2011: what about putting all the money on training people to learn many languages rather than spending on development of ultimate translation robot? :)
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      Aug 7 2011: COMPLETELY and utterly agree, although maybe the Star Trek translator theory could be slightly debated upon :P
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        Aug 8 2011: Debate Star Trek and its view of the future? It sounds like fun Julian!
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        Aug 9 2011: A translation robot is really not what we need. People talk in the dark, they talk when their hands are full, they talk with their words and their tone of voice and their expressions altogether.
        We all have 100 hours to learn Esperanto (actually the lessons take about 12 hours- the rest is integrating what you know and practicing, to make it your own). Then we have a comfortable language for everyone who doesn't happen to share our mother tongue.
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          Aug 10 2011: Hi Penelope, when I was in highschool there was an Esperanto club and that was almost 40 years ago. If Esperanto is going to take off- it is taking its time!

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