This week, the technological world took a break from talking about iPhones, Samsungs and One Pluses to pine over a new device straight out of every sci-fi fan’s dreams. But while many countries may greatly benefit from this device, we’re willing to bet it’ll be a bit of a failure back here in Malta.
The device, an earpiece dubbed TranslateOne2One (perhaps not the most sci-fi name out there, admittedly), is a device which can translate languages in real time, much like the fictitious babel fish from the famous Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series. With a price-tag of a little over €150, it’s revolutionary and affordable. The earpiece was designed and built by an ex-plumber and is already capable of translating between English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Japanese and Chinese, but here’s why it would probably fail big time trying to work with Maltese speakers.
1. We invent new words all the time
Sure, every language has weird trending words or completely made-up phrases that become popular all the time, but Maltese people do it with such successful tenacity, it’s difficult to keep up. Whether it’s the result of a regional invention or any device—even one straight from the future—would have an extremely hard time figuring out an effective translation.
Imagine being at the mechanic’s with one of these earpieces and you’re being told that your car needs a new she cups over.
2. We code-switch too much
As English continues to take over the world, more and more languages are adopting it into their speech. But nowhere is this more prevalent than in Malta, where one sentence can see a person switching between Maltese and English a couple of times.
Good luck trying to translate that without getting an overload, TranslateOne2One.
3. We have multiple accents and dialects
Every country has dialects, but when a language is spoken by millions of people, its dialects become mini-languages within their own right, and that would surely merit a specific add-on for the new earpiece. With all the different accents and dialects in Malta (some of which would only be spoken by a couple of hundred people), however, this gadget will probably just give up, or, even worse, mess up.
4. We’re so constantly loud, the earpiece would have a hard time helping you gauge emotion
If you can’t speak Maltese, your first impression of the Maltese people are that they’re constantly fighting. It’s a very common Maltese trait which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon, and it’s a result of us being a very passionate people (like most of the Mediterranean).
If you have a Maltese person shouting in your face and an earpiece translating nice and helpful phrases, you’re probably going to get very confused very quickly.