I began developing the ili translator due to the numerous situations in which my poor language skills prevented me from enjoying traveling.
As I was born and raised in Japan. When I turned 18, I went on my first trip overseas to the United States. One night, while ordering at a Taco Bell, I told the waiter, “I want to have a water.” I had studied English for 6 years, but the waiter still could not understand what I was trying to say because of my heavy accent andterrible pronunciation.
I love traveling abroad but there were so many times when I couldn’t express myself and it almost made me not want to travel anymore.
After getting sick in China, I didn’t know how ask for stomach medicine in Chinese…
I always dreamed of breaking the language barrier and solving this problem for myself and everyone else in order to make travel easier, more convenient and exciting.
Before ili was conceived, our team developed a mobile translation app which required connection to the internet in order to function properly. We soon realized this would pose a problem in foreign countries, because, as any international traveler knows, it’s extremely difficult to find a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection as a tourist. Even if you were able to get WiFi, it’s usually extremely slow and inefficient, and sometimes it isn’t even free!
Several internet-dependent translation apps and devices were already available on the market, however none of them were used in travel situations, therefore we decided to make a standalone translation device that can be used anywhere, anytime.
During the early stages of development, the response time was 5 seconds. The original program was running on powerful servers, so in order to improve the speed, we tuned the software to make it run even faster on our standalone CPU. We also selected only words and phrases that are used in traveling to decrease the time necessary to search for the best translation. The result turned out phenomenally because we were now able to get it a 0.2 seconds response time.