According to wired.com, when the World Social Forum, was held in Mumbai where many delegates from other Asian countries participated, the multi-linguistic participants did not pose a problem, thanks to Open source. Babels the official interpreters (voluntary organisation) who were responsible for the interpretation of speeches, used Open source Linux software, which used mid range computers to do the interpretation (this is in contrast to using high-speed computers or translators which cost the earth!
According to the representative of Babels this is how the translator works “ there is a onscreen interface, which selects the language spoken by the speaker, the voice of the speaker is then digitalized, this processed voice is then transferred to the translator which translates the voice accordingly and provides the translated version through the headphone of the delegates” other than the amazing feat of converting the speech into more than eleven languages, including Korean and Bahasa Indonesia, the cost involved in the translation was very less than compared to earlier equipment and software. Many delegates attended the program, as they felt more involved. But apart from the positive aspect, the translation provided with lot of technical snags during the meeting. The bright spot being that since it was all recorded, it is available online for those who missed the meeting. So three cheers to open source Linux software for making the world smaller!Source: 20, Jan 2004, www.wired.com