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Sony Entertainment Games

Sony Unveils PSP Translator 169

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the essential-survival-toold-for-tokyo dept.
jonerik writes "Sony has released software for its popular PSP handheld gaming device called TalkMan. In development for some time now, the program currently stores about 3,000 conversation patterns in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. 'A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language. The bird is also able to translate the reply into Japanese.' A European release for TalkMan is expected in the spring."
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Sony Unveils PSP Translator

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  • by oringo (848629) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:37AM (#14615886)
    Now I don't have to rely on the stupid dubs when watching hentai movies on psp...
  • by ale3ns (453301) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:38AM (#14615896)
    "Koko-wa-dokodesuka-rootkit?"

    It replies:

    "what rootkit?"
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:45AM (#14615962)
      "Koko-wa-dokodesuka-rootkit?"

      ...Rutokitto wa nan desssssssss$SYS$
      KORE WA RUTOKITTO JA ARIMASEN. REALLY. HONEST.

    • by Zangief (461457) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @12:06PM (#14616226) Homepage Journal
      Original: "Kawaii! Nintendo DS!"

      Translation: "Cool! Sony PSP!"
      • Original: "Kawaii! Nintendo DS!" Translation: "Cool! Sony PSP!"

        Sudden flashbacks to perhaps the best bit of translation I ever saw. Evangelion. The episode where Asuka first appears. Kensuke's been let loose on an aircraft carrier and he's going around with his camera getting extremely over-excited looking at all the planes and stuff.

        Subtitles: 'Amazing! Cool! Fantastic! Really brilliant! Terrific! Super-brilliant!'... and so on.
        Kensuke himself: 'Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi!

        • It did make me wonder... is Japanese really so short of excitable superlatives? Or is Kensuke just totally inarticulate?

          The second thing.

          Which is why they were probably wrong to translate it like that.

          He could have said things like "omoshiroi", "subarashii", etc. But he didn't. He was gobsmacked, and his repition of the same adjective over and over was a humorous indicator of his state of mind. Make him sound like a human thesaurus, and you strip that element out of the story.
      • This reminds me of an N64 game, I think it was "Hey You Pikachu!" where you could interact with Pikachu with a microphone. If you said Playstation he would spaz and have a little electrical seizure.
    • Actually, desu ka is used to end a sentence. It's kind of like a verbalized period. It roughly correlates to the "be" verbs in English.

      Japanese language [wikipedia.org] is really cool. Verbs always come at the end (hence why desu ka is like a verbalized period - verb at the end of the sentence), and they have very few pronouns and don't use them nearly as much as we do. Their language is VERY dependent on contextual clues. The same word could be used to reference the self, another person, or an inanimate object; in
      • Actually, desu ka is used to end a sentence. It's kind of like a verbalized period. It roughly correlates to the "be" verbs in English.

        Actually, it's more like a verbalized question mark.

        The "verbalized period" you speak of would be "desu".
        • I got pwned.

          I thought there was a difference between a statement and a question but I couldn't remember it.

          Hence the disclaimer about not really knowing Japanese. Watching fansubbed anime will only get you so far.
          • To be fair, you, the guy you were correcting, and everybody else in this thread are probably better at translating Japanese than the PSP is likely to be.

            A quick look Google's Japan/English tool (beta, of course... this is Google, after all) will confirm that translating correctly between Japanese and English with software is damn near impossible with current technology and programming logic.
        • Oh, and a more accurate romanization of the question you were trying to write (assuming the borrowed word "rootkit" is used) would probably be

          ruutokitto wa naN desu ka.

          "Nani" means "what", but when it stands on it's own like that (to ask "what is it?") it's almost always shortened to "naN."

          (The capitol "N" represents the Japanese nasal sylable, which has pronunciation dictated by the sound which follows it... in this case, it should be pronounced just like the Enlgish "n".)
          • Ah, the elusive nan desu ka...now I understand a bit more.

            Arigato, Golias-sensei.

            I also find it amusing that you translated rootkit into how the Japanese would probably say it. Such is the price they pay for ending all their "syllables" but one with a vowel.

            I've never seen a double u before.
            • Arigato, Golias-sensei.

              dou itashimashite.

              I also find it amusing that you translated rootkit into how the Japanese would probably say it. Such is the price they pay for ending all their "syllables" but one with a vowel.

              Japan has a system of converting borrowed words into sounds which can be spelled with the katakana alphabet. It gives their language a great deal of flexibility.

              I've never seen a double u before.

              Actually that's a RU followed by an U. It's a six sylable word (assuming I nihoNgo-ized the word
              • Just out of curiosity, how is the stand alone t syllable pronounced? I know consonant only syllables exist in languages (Hebrew has them), but they usually have an attached implict vowel(once again, the hebrew shewa). just curious how that one syllable would sound phonetically.
                • Just out of curiosity, how is the stand alone t syllable pronounced?

                  It's a stop. You hold the silence of the "t" a moment longer.

                  The "i" and "u" are "whispered vowels" in Japanese if they appear between two non-voiced consonants. For example, the "u" in "desu ka" is whispered, so to westerners it sounds like "dess ka".

                  (Note: Some people from certain regions of Japan, most famously near Osaka, sometimes voice the whispered vowels, and might even insist that whispering them is not required by Standard Jap
                • It just keeps getting more complicated, I'm afraid: there is no such thing as a standalone t-syllable in the Japanese language, the only standalone consonant being -n (as in: a-ri-ma-se-n). What Golias-kun transcribed as -t- here is in fact the syllable tsu that is used as a 'stopping sound' (sorry, I don't have the proper linguistic term available) when you literally hold your breath just before an explosive syllable within a word. Meaning, you are supposed to read kitto as KIT-[make a small pause, hold y
                  • Thanks for both replies. Then the -t- is akin to the transliteration ' in many languages for a stop, such as in b'milah or ha'aretz (though these examples have a weaker stop than that described for japanese). Sorry for all the hebrew refs, but the other languages I know lack hard stops (latin, classical greek, spanish, english).
                    • No need for an excuse, that's actually a good comparison, because as you already noted, the -tsu is much stronger and more precisely, all syllables in Japanese being supposed to be of the same length when pronounced, in our example ki-t-to the stop will have to be just as long as either ki or to, if that helps.

                      What's more, the apostrophe ' is also used in transcribing Japanese, namely after the aforementioned -n whenever it occurs within a word: han'i (ha-n-i, three syllables: malice, bad intentions) is n
                  • Your explanation is mostly correct (and well-said), except that when you apply the small-tsu to some consonant sounds (s, sh, or any voiced consonant), it becomes an elongated sound rather than a stop.

                    Also it's not quite right to call the nasal consonant a "standalone -n", because it's not always pronounced like an "n" sound in english.

                    In "teNpura", it's pronounced "m".

                    In "arimaseN" (your example), it's supposed to be an open nasal vowel.

                    In "geNki" (a word anime fans may be familiar with), it's pronounced "
                    • Spot on, I just had to stop somewhere to avoid turning completely incomprehensible by naming all exceptions and alternate readings in just one or two paragraphs, I guess.

                      In either case it makes much more sense if you write it up in kana, it's a pity /. wouldn't let me.
                    • By the way, I'm very flattered and amused that you referred to me as "Golias-kun", which implies that I'm a young male. I suddenly feel a little better about my receeding hairline. So thanks for that. :)
                    • Slashdot ate my kana as well :(

                    • Heh. My point was, my head features all kinds of daily reminders that I'm no longer what most people would call a "young" man.

                      However, -kun is kind of relative, just as the word young is, so you can apply it to an old-timer like me if you want to express your observance of my child-like nature (for better or worse.)

                      Technically, it's probably a mistake to address somebody with -kun instead of -san on an internet forum (unless you've meet them IRL), because that implies that know they are male. -san is gend
            • I've never seen a double u before.

              Does uchuu () count, or is that a chu followed by a u?

              And, yes. My japanese is crappy at best as well :)

      • The contextual dropping of pronouns (and even subjects) is hadly unique. All languages tend to drop superfluous words. Think of "ture", which is shothand for "that is true". or the simple conversation:
        "He is coming here."
        "who?"
        The "who" is shorthand for "who is" or even "who is coming here". You simply forget how many words are dropped in english if you speak it every day, while it is more pronounced in unfamiliar languages.
        In addition, by not having obvious case/gender endings english is less contract
      • You're not serious about Japanese not having many pronouns, right? It has dozens of them for different occasions. It's the only language I can think of which has about a dozen ways to say "you".
      • desu ka is like a verbalized period

        The same word could be used to reference the self, another person, or an inanimate object

        rootkit wa nani desu ka?
        Close. An accurate translation would be "ruutokitto [rootkit] wa nan desu ka." However, this sounds more like "What is a rootkit?" if you had already heard of one. I believe you would use this in a sense of...gosh, I can't explain it.. I think it would be more natural to say, "ruutokitto to iu no wa nan desu ka," which sounds more like, "The thing called "rootk
        • I completely forgot to comment on two parts of the GP's post:

          desu ka is like a verbalized period
          No, not at all. The "ka" is a question marker. It belongs only in interrogative sentences. However, GP's statement about "desu" being like "to be" is correct. It's called a copula.

          The same word could be used to reference the self, another person, or an inanimate object
          Unless the GP means "verb", that's completely false. But I'm sure that's what GP meant, since he was talking about verbs and context clues.
    • Minor note... Japanese grammar is different than English grammar (imagine that...), so the subject (and nearly everything else) goes before the verb. Hence:

      rootkit wa doku desu ka?
    • "Koko-wa-dokodesuka-rootkit?"

      You just said "Where is here? Rootkit."
    • This Is More Correct (Score:2, Informative)

      by juancnuno (946732)
      Rootkit ga doko desu ka?
      • iie, chigaimasu.

        "Rootkit ga" is incorrect, because rootkit works as a focus, even though you are asking where it is. You only use "ga" as a subject marker when you can't use the noun as a focus. The correct marker in that sentence is "wa."
      • Rootkit ga doko desu ka?

        Make that "wa" instead of "ga", and you've got yourself a deal. Assuming you meant, "Where is the rootkit?"
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gUUU ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:41AM (#14615922) Homepage Journal
    'A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language.

    Popular phrases used to test the device are "Polly wants a cracker?", "I thought I saw a putty-tat!", and "I did! I did see a putty-tat!" To date, most American users are put off by the device's inability to translate "putty-tat", a common term for the average house cat. Sony has promised to take a look at this issue.
    • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:49AM (#14616016)
      most American users are put off by the device's inability to translate "putty-tat"

      Putty-tat is owned by Warner Brothers Studio, part of AOL Time Warner. If you think that ATW is going to license a competing studio -- Sony -- to use their intellectual property then you are crazier than Daffy Duck (also owned by ATW, and emphatically not licensed for use in this Slashdot post.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:41AM (#14615929)
    It is rumored that the bluetooth ear piece resembles a small yellow fish.. The user by placing the earpiece into their ear canal can now understand all language, and though logic unbeknownst to us, disproves the existance of god.
  • by Saint37 (932002) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:42AM (#14615937)
    Next Sony will probably make the announcement that they will own all conversations facilitated by the PSP. They will implement DRM to enforce this. Should you want to playback your conversation, you will need to rent it.

    http://www.commodore69.com/ [commodore69.com]
  • Paperclip? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XMilkProject (935232) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:43AM (#14615946) Homepage
    This is actually really slick. I hate to support Sony nowadays, but this is exactly the sort of utility that will make hardware like the PSP more useful to people. Hopefully in the near future all our PDA's and Cellphones will be able to translate live as we talk.

    I hope theres an option to have a talking Paperclip though, I'd feel more at home with that. <sarcasm/>

    Let me know when its in a device that will fit in my ear :)
  • Now the PSP gaming networks will be filled with people mangling Japanese, Russian and any of 25 or so Indian languages instead of just English.

    Still, I think it's that people will be able to play video games with people from the other side of the world ("It's night-time by you, right?" "No, noon.") without having to learn another language.
  • News? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CMiYC (6473) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:44AM (#14615953) Homepage
    You've been able to import this from Lik-Sang for quite some time now. In fact, here is their hands on review [lik-sang.com] from Nov.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    speaker: our inspectors are seeking instances of non compliance
    translation: All your base are belong to us!

    speaker: I have some thoughts I've been formulating about that subject
    translation: FIRST PROST!

    speaker: Excuse me, but you are beautiful, I know I'm a nerd, but would you go out with me?
    translation: Please hold still long enough to get a camera photo of you to whack off to later while I dream about you all alone in front of my $8000 hand built gaming computer.

    speaker: I'm writing a new applica
  • Can you query: Where is the p0rn?
    • Re:Phrase Test (Score:3, Interesting)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      Can you query: Where is the p0rn?

      Sure. My Japanese is restricted to what I pick up from anime, but the phrase here was fairly simple:

      'Koko wa doko desu ka'

      'Doko desu ka' means 'where is it?'. Whatever you stick before 'wa' is the it to which 'doko desu ka' refers. 'Koko' is 'here', so the question is effectively 'where is here?' or in better English, 'where is this?'

      So, you want p0rn? Simple. 'P0rn wa doko desu ka'. Except that you'll probably have to spell it in Japanese lettering at some point, so

      • 'Koko wa doko desu ka'

        I won't ask how often this as come in handy for you.

        Now all we need is the other n languages supported by the translator.

        Thx!

      • So, you want p0rn? Simple. 'P0rn wa doko desu ka'. Except that you'll probably have to spell it in Japanese lettering at some point, so 'Porunno wa doko desu ka' might be the way forward :)

        Huh ?
        Doko is for places. I don't even know if they will understand p0rn, and they will start figuring out if there is a place named 'poruno'. As your japanese is what you picked from anime, you should have figured out that p0rn is dubbed 'H' ('etchi' in japanese) for hentai.
        And for things, aru is the verb for general thin
      • Except that you'll probably have to spell it in Japanese lettering at some point, so 'Porunno wa doko desu ka' might be the way forward :)

        'ERO was doko desu ka?' will do fine. ero as in erotic, and hence written in katakana. Behold all the useless knowledge do I possess!

  • I'm glad (Score:4, Funny)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:46AM (#14615984) Homepage Journal
    A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language. The bird is also able to translate the reply into Japanese.'

    I'm glad that Bonzi Buddy has been able to find a new job.
    • Lesser known fact: the purple gorilla used to be a green parrot.
      • Bonzai Buddy is an application that uses Microsoft Agent. Microsoft Agent is a technology that can be used to give 'character' to an application. It is used as the basis of the XP search assisant, the Office Assistant (the newer ones that are not enclosed in a window), And even the little question mark thing that appears the first time you boot into Windows XP after installation (or after sysprep).

        Microsoft created (or at least holds the rights to) may characters. Some are fairly application specific not ha
  • by dhardisty (914014) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:48AM (#14616010) Homepage
    "The technology is said to be able to translate some 50,000 Japanese words and 25,000 English words." I'm not surprised this thing was invented in japan -- since japanese only has 5 basic vowel sounds and no consonant clusters, it must be easier for the software to encode. That, and it makes sense to support the language of the people you are marketing it to.
    • since japanese only has 5 basic vowel sounds and no consonant clusters, it must be easier for the software to encode

      But on the other hand, due to the limit amount of phonemes to choose from in Japanese, there are a ridiculous amount of homophones, and few hints as to where one word ends and one begins. Thus, the AI must be stronger. Unless of course, there are few enough phrases supported where it becomes a non-issue. I didn't RTFA, so I don't know.
  • Old news (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This game has already been on shelves for a long time in Japan. I suppose it could be used as a translator, but it's definitely not useful as something a person could quickly pull out to get a translation. That talking bird is annoying as hell -- think going through 3 menus just to get to clippy. Barf. You also need to have an awkward mic plugged into the USB port that renders all carrying cases useless.

    What's cool about this game isn't its ability to translate, but moreso its capacity to correct pronun
  • Futurama (Score:5, Funny)

    by Roj Blake (931541) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:49AM (#14616013)
    Unfortunately so far it only translates into an incomprehensible dead language.

    Speaks into PSP: Konichiwa
    Reply from PSP: Bonjour
    • Flamebait? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Roj Blake (931541)
      It's just a futurama joke!

      Were the French translators [wikipedia.org] of the show flamebaiting when they changed the joke so that German was the dead language? No, it's just a joke.

      Bite my shiny daffodil ass!
  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:55AM (#14616071) Homepage
    My hovercraft is full of eels.
  • European (Score:5, Funny)

    by MagicM (85041) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @11:57AM (#14616110)
    A European release for TalkMan is expected in the spring.

    Oh goodie! I've always wanted to learn to speak European!
    • Bah, Eurotrash talk! I'm stoked for the Latin American edition, so that I can speak proper Latin! How do those Incans say "potatoe" anyhow?
  • by Bob McCown (8411) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @12:05PM (#14616207)
    I do not want this tobacconist, it is scratched.
  • I am surprised that more slashdotters don't speak Japanese, and also surprised that a Japanese writer made this dumb mistake (chonbo), but Koko means "here", and Kore means "this". The phrase really says "Where is here?". To say "Where is this?", you would say "Kore wa, doko desu ka?" I am nitpicking only because the thing is a translator, and it makes the nonsensical sentence. I can't wait to see the actual translator. Inoue-san...nandekota!!
    • Koko wa doko desu ka? is a perfectly acceptable sentence if you're asking where you are at this moment in time (standing in the middle of Harajuku with your Lonely Planet guide held upside down, for instance) or if you're pointing to a spot on the map and asking how you might find that place.
  • I don't pretend to know English or Japanese very well as none are my native language, but isn't the correct translation for "Koko ha doko desu ka" actually "Where am I", with the meaning "what is this place I'm standing in right now ?" ?
    Is "Where is this ?" equivalent to "Where am I ?" in american ?
    Does the translation come from the device or from the news submitter ?
    I'm confused.

    It's good that the software seems so advanced.
    What cost will it have though ?
  • Go to the official site [playstation.jp] and click on the whities. The video is hilarious proof of why this product is totally worthless as a translator, yet hilariously awesome.

    "Shumi wa nan desuka?"
    (What do you like to do?)
    "I, like, to, eat!"
    (Can you describe it with gestures?)

    Disgrace.

    Then in the end, the Japanese guy hooks up with a girl with an Italian accent. Hmm, Italy's public education system apparently can teach English, so what's Japan's problem? (Don't answer that.)
  • Okay, the PSP is sexy, Sony, yes I think it's pretty. But what can I do with it besides watch mostly crappy movies, listen to music that I already have on my smaller iPod, or put pr0n on? Where are the GAMES? What is your killer app? What are the must-have games? I have never seen someone playing anything besides Lumines on a PSP. Everyone I know with a DS has a ton of games that kick ass. Don't you have something better to be doing, Sony, than making translators and rootkits? How about games or finishing t
  • Too bad it doesn't do arabic. I know at least 140,000 customers that could really use it, like, yesterday.

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