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A new device that delivers foreign language translations directly to your ear almost instantly has just gone on sale.

The Translate One2One is an earpiece that can accurately translate spoken conversations and written text across eight of the world’s most widely-spoken languages within 3-5 seconds which include Chinese, English and Spanish.

The device has been hailed as a real-world equivalent of the Babel fish, the famous fictional creature from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s powered by IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, and takes mere seconds to complete a translation and play it to you.

It currently works across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese.

It “overcomes many of the contextual challenges associated with common languages, as well as understanding the nuances of local slang and dialects,” the company says.

“For example, in Spanish ‘LL’ could be pronounced “y”, “j” or “sh”, depending on the dialect.”

Crucially, it doesn’t need to be connected to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in order to work, meaning you can use it in remote locations, and without fear of draining your handset’s battery which is vital if you are abroad.

“As the first device on the market for language translation using AI that does not rely on connectivity to operate, it offers significant potential for its unique application across airlines, foreign government relations and even not-for-profits working in remote areas,” said Danny May, the founder of Lingmo.

The Translate One2One is available for $179 (£140) and will begin shipping next month.

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