Scan English, print Japanese, great trick for the office party.
Have you ever wished that your all-in-one printer could scan in a Japanese document and print it out in English? How about Reading English and printing Korean? Yes, well then your prayers have been answered, because the latest prototype form Fuji offers to do just that.
While for spoken language a Babel Fish is clearly the optimal solution (aside from the religious dilemmas it causes), written text requires a less, well, fishy solution. The Xerox does this by scanning the input document and sending it to a server, whereupon it is analysed and a version sent back for the printer to output in the desired language.
At present either English, Chinese, Korean or Japanese can be selected for translation to or from Japanese, although this would probably be expanded for a retail model. Hopefully the server has a better level of translation of than services such as Google Translate, which can be a bit hit and miss.
The server is also reputed to be able to distinguish between text and images, while still preserving the formatting as far as possible with different word lengths and so forth. Still, it is an intriguing concept and if the technology behind the printer can be refined to a usable level then there should definitely be a market. Keep your eyes peeled folks.
Digital Toyko World.