As I’ve frequently said … CES is the only place on the planet where you can see tomorrow. This show had an item that I think is earthshaking. Star Trek had its universal translator and the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” had its’ “Bablefish” … now it’s becoming real.

A startup called “Mars” had what looked like a couple of Bluetooth earbuds. The owner of the “buds” puts one in his ear, and the other goes to a person speaking a different language. In almost real time, the phone app translates the conversation into the wearers’ native languages.

Does it actually work? … The robotic voice in your ear aside, it works so well that it may be life-changing for some people.  I used it to talk to someone whose native language is Korean and was stunned. It was effortless to carry on a conversation. I simply can’t count the ways it changes everything for anyone who deals with people from multiple language backgrounds. From business to a more personal nature, this can actually convey your meaning as accurately as though you could really speak Mandarin Chinese. It’s going to be available in several languages and there’s no reason why it couldn’t eventually work on ALL languages. A data link to the web is required … for the moment.    The projected price is about $250 or so.

This is one of those “ah-ha” moments that demands you take a minute and think about what this could mean …

So when you meet someone and they brag about being fluent in six foreign tongues, you reach for your MARS and tell them … “only six?”

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