Genie Talk, the official translation app for the Olympics.

The Winter Olympics are about to begin, and even though they aren’t as big as the Summer Olympics, translation and the elimination of language barriers is one of the main concerns of all parties involved in their organisation. One of the examples that proves this is the more than 2,000 volunteers with language skills working as translators among the participants of the Olympics.

All local companies in South and North Korea must be able to take advantage of the opportunity of the Olympics. A sound understanding among all parts of society is essential. For this reason, the “Genie Talk” application was created, an official translation app developed by a local software company. The app works with Android and iOS devices and can translate Korean, Japanese, English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Arabic. Incredibly, the programme has updates which allow the dialect of the province where the Olympics are being held, Gangwon, to be translated. The voice recognition rate is up to 98% in Korean and includes its multiple dialects and proper names. The company claims that its programme offers the services through advanced voice recognition software which can even translate typed text and text inside images. The app will be available to Android and iOS users free of charge, but it will take longer to reach Spain since right now it is only available to users that access it in the stores in South Korea. Without a doubt, the 2018 Winter Olympics will be remembered as the high-tech Olympics.

Still, having reached this point, we may wonder whether translation apps do the same job as human translators. The answer is no. We are living in a multicultural society, and the purpose of translators is evolving. Translators go further: we are interpreters and are responsible for connecting two cultures. Translation software allows us to communicate at a specific time and on a more personal level. But so far, it cannot interpret the message or adapt it to the receiver.