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A Friend a Bank and a "Translation box"

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posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 06:07 PM
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First this happened in 1995ish. A friend of mine, before I get too deep into this odd story let me describe my friend.

He is does not have a jovial attitude and the odds of practical jokee joke out of this guy is zero. He is a skilled trades man and favorite sport is firearms.

So he tells me (in 1995) that he went into a local bank and while standing in line he noticed a small shoe box sized box sitting behind the counter next to the teller. He said that as she was talking it was spitting out a different language. This was real time, she said hi may I help you and the box said a phrase in another language, he thought it to be French.

Now me hearing this in the mid 1990's said BS, but he to this day still insists that the scenario I spelled out above was true. I asked was there a reason to have this? I mean was there a need for an interpreter? He said no, it was a bunch of normal bank customers and none seemed to need the assistance of translation. He said the box just sat there and when the teller said something the box repeated it in a low volume in a different language.

Looking back I wished I would have dropped by this bank and asked if they had such a device. I have no reason to doubt his story, it just didn't seem technically possible at the time and totally unnecessarily. And I would hope that after 20 some odd years if he was sht!tting me he would come clean. But nope he still insists the little box was there. The only thing I can come up with is it was a test of some sort for a new piece of tech. But I remember the mid 1990's and that seemed a no go.

Any way I can't say why this stuck in my mind other than it was just so freaky. But to this day I am still perplexed.


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edit on 22-1-2018 by seasonal because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 06:29 PM
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a reply to: seasonal

Wow. That one will get your gears turning, won't it?

Off the top of my head, I would guess '95 would be, what, early Pentiums from Intel, and maybe 68040, early 68060 on the Motorola 68k side, or early PowerPCs possibly.

I suppose real-time translation was technically feasible, but doing it with a machine the size of a shoe box would be quite a stretch, don't you?

Not to mention the fact that '95 would still be considered the single-core era.

That's just a MASSIVELY cool story. And that's all the detail you can recall? Damn. I don't even think I'll be able to sleep tonight with this bouncing around in my head...



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 06:40 PM
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With a bit more thought, it seems a bit less feasible, though.

There were text to speech programs that were available at least sometime around that time, such as "Dragon Naturally Speaking" and others like it, but from what I can recall, the performance and accuracy were pretty bad. And that's just for TTS, and not even THINKING about the additional CPU horsepower required for translation.

The more I think about it, the closer it gets to pegging my WooWoo meter.
edit on 22-1-2018 by MteWamp because: Addition.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 06:41 PM
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a reply to: MteWamp

My buddy said it had the wood that is applied as a sticker on it, and I can't recall if he said there was any nameplates, but I don't think there was.

When he first told me this, it was out of the blue and he was telling it in disbelief. This machine would have been big bucks, and I somehow doubt it would be at a small back water bank in Michigan. A very odd story.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 06:55 PM
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You bet it's odd. I also agree with you that the possibility of it being a test of some new tech would be REALLY unlikely. The dollar value for tech like that would have been ENORMOUS in those days, and any kind of testing in the real world would be very risky. It could be stolen, lost, and/or reverse engineered.

Furthermore, what kind of real-world testing would be required that you couldn't accomplish in the lab? I can't think of any.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:02 PM
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originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: MteWamp

My buddy said it had the wood that is applied as a sticker on it, and I can't recall if he said there was any nameplates, but I don't think there was.


Laminate?



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:19 PM
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Could it be possible the bank or the teller herself were supplying these translator boxes so their employees would slowly learn how to speak key phrases in other languages to better help clientele who speak different languages ?

Seems like a good way to learn on the job.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:28 PM
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originally posted by: Sheye
Could it be possible the bank or the teller herself were supplying these translator boxes so their employees would slowly learn how to speak key phrases in other languages to better help clientele who speak different languages ?

Seems like a good way to learn on the job.


I think that would be a GREAT application for tech like that, but I think what were getting stuck on is the question of whether or not real-time voice translation was feasible considering the hardware that was readily available in 1995.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:35 PM
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a reply to: c2oden

It was an applied plastic wood grain sticker that came in a roll that was applied to steel to spiff it up a bit.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:39 PM
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a reply to: Sheye

Could be but in 1995 I don't even know if tech like that was available. In Michigan there is not a ton of French (that is what he thought the language was) immigration, so that didn't make sense.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 09:01 PM
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a reply to: seasonal

Perhaps some language learning cassettes and your friend was mistaken?

... or perhaps the bank was trialling a service where distant human translators could interpret call-centre style?

Telephone interpreting From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 09:08 PM
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a reply to: chr0naut

I thought about a intercom type device where the teller would say something then the box would hear and change the phrase to French. I have never heard of this type of training, let alone the info that would be "shared" with the person in this scenario.
And a cassette does not cut the mustard with what my friend said he was hearing as he waited in line. Too many starts and stops as the teller talked.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 09:28 PM
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Probably some kind of social experiment or pysops to gauge people's reactions.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 10:05 PM
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Earth humans had speech to text in 95.

It took hours to train.



posted on Jan, 23 2018 @ 09:22 AM
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people in your friends age rage the mind starts going and they remember things that never happened and forget more then they ever knew .
I should know I am 52 ( what was this post about again ?




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