Malaysian Programmer Creates Real-Time Translator to Understand Coworkers Speaking in Mandarin

A Malaysian programmer was inspired to devise his own real-time translator after he experienced trouble understanding his Mandarin-speaking colleagues during meetings. 

Twitter user Roshen Maghhan (@roshenmaghhan) recently shared his DIY project which took inspiration from Google Pixel Buds, a type of wireless earbuds that can convert any language in real-time.

In a series of tweets he posted on Tuesday, Maghhan wrote how he’d usually end up confused after their casual meetings in the morning at a local software development company as most of his coworkers would converse in Mandarin.

“About six months ago, I worked at this software development company, and every morning, we’d have a casual meeting about the work,” he wrote. “But half the time, during the meeting, most of them would converse in Mandarin, and so I’d always be pretty clueless half the time.”

He lamented that when he would ask his colleagues to converse in English so he could understand, they would acknowledge it initially but would eventually revert back to speaking Mandarin again later on.

“Despite the amount of times I’ve I asked them to converse in English, they would acknowledge it, but eventually start conversing in Mandarin again after a while, and I believe its (sic) unintentional, [because] they’re very nice,” he explained.

“Then I remembered about the Google Pixel Buds, and how it’s probably the tech solution to bridge the gap between language barriers,” Maghhan added, posting a video showing how the technology works:

Since a pair of the wireless earbuds would cost him almost RM800 ($200), he decided to build the device himself using Google Pixel Buds’ hardware information (obtained from the United States’ Federal Communications Commission), Google Translate API (purchased), ResponsiveVoice API (voice synthesizer), and a normal pair of earphones with a microphone.

After making it work for his intended use, he then decided to take it a step further by adding the ability to differentiate voices, known as ‘voice diarisation,’ a tool which he developed himself:

Maghhan ended his thread by sharing that his nifty gadget will now let him stay in the loop during meetings and allow him to know if someone is talking shit about him “in any language.”

Featured image via Twitter/roshenmaghhan

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