A Hit in Almost Any Language

We're still a long way from the day when computers can perform translations among the world's languages that capture every nuance. But here is software that performs excellently in conveying the gist of documents back and forth among Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and English.

The software is far more sophisticated than competing products that rely on simple word replacement translations. It uses a set of algorithms called Transcend RT to parse grammar, analyze vocabulary words and follow diction patterns to convey meanings of selected text.

The software includes the popular Dragon Systems human speech recognition program that allows dictation in English to be transcribed into the other languages.

Another huge speech asset is that the software will read the text you have translated back to you, making it an excellent tool for learning specific foreign phrases.

Also included is translation of Web pages that are called up in your browser with the Transparent Language software running in the background.

-- James Coates -- Chicago Tribune

Desktop Translator

by Transparent Language

$100

For Windows 95/98

www.transparent.com

Man's Best Techno-Friend

Sony Corp. recently released its much-anticipated robotic dog, Aibo. In Japanese, aibo means "partner" or "pal," and it also comes from the words Artificial Intelligence and Robot.

What makes the limited-edition Aibo different is that it is autonomous. Starting as a newborn puppy, this marvel learns to walk and seemingly becomes aware of its abilities and environment.

Aside from its mechanical abilities, which include being able to walk, Aibo sports sensors that include stereophonic hearing to perceive direction of sounds plus sensors for motion, distance, touch and a vision camera that can detect colors, see walls and other obstacles.

At this time no more Aibos are available and Sony is not saying whether it plans to produce more or introduce a less expensive model.

-- Craig Crossman -- Knight Ridder/Tribune News

AIBO

entertainment robot

by Sony

$2,500

www.world.sony.com/robot/index.html