We've already seen the idea of data-to-voice translation passed around, but NEC's latest software is far beyond the drawing board. Reportedly, the firm has developed a system that can understand around 50,000 Japanese words and translate them to English text on the mobile's display in just a second or two. The software was made compact enough to "operate on a small microchip mounted in a cellphone," and was designed especially to help users convert common travel phrases. Notably, it would be technically possible to make the English translation vocal, but according to NEC spokesman Mitsumasa Fukumoto, the firm isn't looking into that possibility at the moment. No word on when we'd see this technology hit the masses, nor if any other language combinations were in the works, but this would certainly make touring English-speaking locales a lot less strenuous for Japanese speakers.

[Via Physorg]

Radius' noise-canceling earbuds for your iPod nano