Last year a company executive from Cisco had said that real-time translation of Cisco Systems TelePresence virtual meetings would be available by 2009. But going by the latest new, it seems that the company has found it the goal much harder than it had initially anticipated. The technology exhibited at Cisco’s C-Scape conference in December 2008 involved a combination of various technologies including speech recognition, text-to-speech conversion and a translation engine. The company had planned to roll out the product for sale in the second half of 2009 with a 20-language set that included Asian, as well as Western languages. The product would also have allowed the users to select whether they wanted to view subtitles or listen to a digital voice.
However TelePresence translation system was not found in Cisco’s recent collaboration launch in which the company revealed 61 new products that would go on sale over the coming many months. The vice president of TelePresence Systems Business Unit Charles Stucki said that the Cisco did not even have any estimate about when the proposed system would be available for any language. Stucki further revealed that the developers were having a much harder time than anticipated in getting quality results while transcribing speech to text and converting text into speech. Converting written words was another issue where the developers were facing serious challenges. According to Stucki, a fully automated, real-time translation system as envisioned by Cisco will not be available for at least three years.