Translations in a virtual, augmented, holographic reality

Stewart Crabb, our resident gaming expert, shares his excitement about the new technology that is coming our way and how it has the potential to impact communication around the world.

A few weeks ago I was down in London at the ICE Totally Gaming event held at the Excel convention centre. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the event, it’s where all the betting, bingo, casino, lottery, mobile, online, social and street gaming companies gather to showcase their new products and services to potential buyers and suppliers. The best way to describe the event is as a mini Vegas – bright lights and loud noises everywhere! The products on show were the things you would expect from a mini Vegas – video fruit machines, casino tables, casino software etc. There was one stand that caught my eye though – a stand that was showcasing their new casino….a virtual reality casino. I just had to have a look at this.

Using the Oculus rift, this company had built a virtual reality casino environment where you could walk around and interact with other ‘people’ and enter a number of different rooms which contained different casino/betting games. One of the rooms I entered was a football stadium. In this room you could place bets on a virtual football match whilst sat in the stadium, surrounded by other casino users. Look up and you can see the sky. Look down and you can see the floor. Look left and right and you can see the other users sat with you. Look straight ahead and you can watch the football match. My brain thought I was at an actual stadium watching an actual game of football. I was immersed in the atmosphere and surroundings and if I wasn’t stood in the middle of a very busy Excel centre, I could have easily started telling the referee exactly what I thought of him!

I have been reading about the Oculus rift and the Microsoft Hololens for a while now, but not until I actually had a go with the Rift did I fully appreciate how amazing these pieces of technology really are. The argument that seems to be going around is will they will be accepted by the majority and actually improve how we currently carry out our daily tasks? These are legitimate questions, and questions that I’ve asked myself too. But after having a go with the rift I can confidently say that YES they will be accepted and YES they will improve our daily lives. The only question that comes to mind now is….virtual reality or holographic computing? This could be the new VHS Vs Beta max or BlueRay Vs HD DVD. Both concepts are fascinating but I personally don’t see a place in the market for both and with Microsoft creating a device that interacts with your surroundings, rather than transporting you to a whole new world like the Rift does, I feel as though this will win the battle. The headset you wear is much sleeker and sociably acceptable, and with time I would imagine it will be refined further with different style choices.

But why would we want this technology in our lives? Well, let’s look at its basic level of use. You want to watch one channel on TV whilst your significant other would like to watch something else. Yes, you could record what you want to watch, or even go upstairs to watch it, but how about if you could both watch what you wanted to watch and could stay in the same room? So many arguments avoided through this piece of technology! Granted, I can’t imagine this is what Bill and his Microsoft army were thinking when they started to design the Hololens, but it’s a great example of how it can be accepted in everyday life. In a more business specific example, the Hololens can be used by designers when creating new products. Everyone can be wearing the lens and all see and edit their product together. This type of working environment can only help people be more creative and bring ideas to life.

And how about using the Hololens for meetings with colleagues from other countries who might not speak your language? We have all seen the recent releases from Google and Skype with regards to translations. Google has released an app where you can point your phone or tablet at a sign and it will translate the sign for you. Skype has released a similar tool where you can be speaking in your native tongue and the user at the other end will hear a direct translation of what has been said. Both of these technologies are still in their infancies and have their own separate issues, but they both have great potential. Imagine if these technologies were available within the Hololens. You could hold a meeting with colleagues from around the world and language would no longer be a barrier. You could take a trip anywhere in the world and confidently navigate your way around while chatting with the locals.

The Hololens is looking to be released towards the end of this year, at the same time as Windows 10, so we don’t have long to wait at all. Whether or not it’s accepted by the general public we will have to see, but if the price is right and it’s able to do exactly what they claim it can do, then I expect it to take off in a big way. These are of course just my thoughts and opinions, and maybe they’re a bit biased since I’m a bit of a gadget geek, but it’s hard not to get excited about the possibilities they offer.

If you would like to find out about how Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) helps the gaming industry with their language requirements, contact Why not check out our case study with Spil Games? You can also visit our website to discover more information on the range of services we provide.

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