October 2017 update:
The technology for in-ear translation is catching on, benefiting consumers with more hardware choices now.
There are now personal translating devices offered by Lingmo, Skype, Bragi as well as Waverly’s pilot and Google just announced translating Earbuds for the pixel 2 phone that will cost 100 less than the pilot. cnet article comparing the different options
Liveaboard global sailorswould benefit from an offline option, although most of our interactions where we need linguistic help is on land where connectivity is more of a possibility.
January 2017 update:
The earpiece now has a name – the Pilot. And it has a projected release date of May 2017. The company offices out of a shared space for start-ups in NYC (smart that they’re keeping overhead low) and they’ve secured a federal trademark for Pilot for the app and earpieces on an intent-to-use basis.
Back in June 2016, Waverly raised $4,300 on their indigogo campaign. That was more than 30 times what they were asking for initially. By September 2016 they had raised $3million and by this month (January 2017) they had raised $4 Million USD and more and more press was writing about the Pilot. That’s good news!
And they’re accepting pre-orders for the Pilot, which will cost $199. http://www.waverlylabs.com/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Will this Waverly Translating Earpiece bring down the Tower of Babel ? Supposedly it will translate in real time, and best of all, it is supposed to work offline without needing your phone (the brains of the translation) to be connected to the Internet.
Until now, we have been using Google’s Translate App, which serves us well…as long as we are online (always at some cost in foreign countries). It has covered all the languages we’ve needed and we can use our iphone’s voice to text function to dictate our English words in and then it translates that into the other language. It also can scan an image (or use the camera) to translate what it’s seeing. Many times, we’ll be “talking” to locals in their country and they pull out their google translate app, or use ours and we communicate through each of us reading what the phone says.
If it works as it says it will, Waverly’s earpiece could be a significant improvement over using an app on a phone because it listens, translates and speaks to you instead of requiring text on the phone, which is cumbersome and works to ask a question, but isn’t good for ongoing conversation.
The “If” is a big unknown, and a big risk. Waverly’s earpiece isn’t being sold yet. It’s an IndieGogo project, and they will be taking pre-orders for a product that may never materialize (some call that “vaporware”) and may not be as described with glorious promises right now. Plus, you may put money down for the expectancy of the product, and if the company folds, you could lose what you paid, which isn’t cheap – $250-300. For something your phone is doing for free using the Google App. So, it’s a risk. But the rewards sound appealing. Do we pre-order? Will you?
Waverly is going to take pre-orders tomorrow, May 25th at 7:00 AM US Eastern Time through their Indiegogo page. Here is the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/meet-the-pilot-smart-earpiece-language-translator/coming_soon
And here is the link to their website: http://www.waverlylabs.com/