E-reader app translates books and reads them to you

A new e-reader translation app from a Toronto-based firm could eliminate the language barrier when it comes to reading books in a digital format.

Intertainment Media Inc. filed for a U.S. patent for its e-reader translator application, the company announced this morning. The app, called Ortsbo e-reader, is currently in closed beta and can translate the most popular e-reader formats in either text or text-to-speech. So a reader could load an English-language book, translate it to French, and then have the application read them that book.

The first languages supported by the application include English, French, and German, but the firm’s goal is to eventually support 53 languages. It will be made available on Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Windows-based systems.

Text-to-audio translation will correctly pronounce accent marks and uses a human-sounding voice that appropriately mimics the enunciation of the chosen language, Intertainment says.

A demonstration of the Ortsbo e-reader translator.

Ortsbo has drummed up hype in the past with its star spokesperson, Gene Simmons of KISS. “It’s the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen,” Simmons told Computerworld previously. “It’s actually a fabulous way for people to break down the barriers.”

Ortsbo has been used for several years to provide real-time translation of online chat, e-mail, and social networking messages. Intertainment says Ortsbo users have grown to number 107 million, which is an increase of 167 per cent since November 2011.

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