For those of you who fetishize all things Japanese but have the lingual talent of a turnip, your future pilgrimage to Japan just got a whole lot easier. NEC has made a handheld device which takes what you say in English or Japanese, translates it, and then speaks the translation for you. The whole process takes about one second, so no fear of unfortunate delays when you're calling out, "Hey, don't walk off that cliff!" I've got to wonder about the voice synthesizer though; I've yet to hear one that has the intonation right in English, and English isn't even a tonal language (although technically, neither is Japanese, I've been told).
This sexy gadget will be released in Japan in a couple of months, but it's only the beginning — NEC is working on a Chinese/Japanese version, as well as improving the overall technology and integration with phones.
Device translates spoken Japanese and English [NewScientist]