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SWBC Translation Test #1 Worked Well

swbc translation test #1

My SWBC translation test #1 worked pretty well. Japanese voice to English text via the cloud translation from Microsoft.

Recently, I wrote about my vision for a universal translator so I could understand foreign language shortwave radio broadcasts. Well, my baby steps towards that goal have produced some success. To the point that I think I now have my first proof of concept.

Here is what I did.

I recorded some audio files from my ANAN-7000 DLE receiving stations in the 25 and 19 meter bands one morning. These included Japanese, Korean and Arabic speech. Audio was captured over a virtual audio cable, and recorded as a 20 second WAV file (16 bits) using Audacity.

Next, I opened my browser and went to Microsoft Translate, running as a cloud service on Azure. You can try speech translation in a demo app, either by speaking into your microphone or uploading an audio file. I did this for all three of my foreign language files. Japanese and Korean worked well, but Arabic was confusing as it was a religious speech, maybe?

Above, you can see a simulation of what this would look like if I could connect my shortwave receiver directly to the translation service. But, as for reality, you can watch this video screen capture of my experiment in action.

SWBC Translation Test #1 – Baby Steps

Like I say, baby steps. I am excited that this first experiment worked well. I need to learn more. The trick for me is being able to access these services for free or at low cost. Whether I write a software program to automate real-time translation, or just use an existing app, remains to be seen.

For me, I like the idea of translating speech to text, as shown above, as the preferred option over speech-to-speech. I would rather watch the translation and listen to the original speaker on shortwave.

I hope you will try some experiments of your own and let me know about these. I am sure there are many folks more advanced than me who could provide some help. Cheers for now.


  1. Guy Atkins says:

    Hi John,

    I like your experiments here! In the past I’ve tried something similar with the Google Translate App, for real time translation. It was marginally successful, and gave me the gist of the content. I was using a Korean language broadcast as the source.

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