App for the London Olympics Needs More Foreign Language Speakers

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In the office located at the west side of the Harold B. Lee Library, students are getting ready to launch a smart phone app for the 2012 London Olympics.

The project is called Small Talk, which is a development of a multi-language translating application for iPhone and Android. Giovanni Tata, director of BYU Creative Works, has led the project with a team of six student programmers since he was approached by a few Church members in England who were looking for ways to help the upcoming Olympics.

“Our hope is that all the volunteers from the London Olympics, which will be played this summer, will be using it,” Tata said. “Plus all the [public] services – the police, the subway, the ambulance workers – anybody that might work with the Olympics in a supportive role.”

The strength of this app is its practical and easy use, and it is free to download. Tata said the unusually high number of students speaking foreign languages at BYU has enabled the successful progress, but the project can always use more volunteers.

“We’d like to get as many student volunteers as possible, so we can put as many languages as we can,” said Tata, who added the volunteers will receive a certificate of completion, and later a souvenir from the London Olympics.

Issac Davis, a BYU junior studying computer science and one of the programmers for the project, said there are enough student volunteers for Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese and German, but for any other languages including French and Japanese, they need more help.

As he has participated in developing the Android version of the program, David said he also made his own Android apps and published them in the market.

“For me, it’s just exciting to do something that could be very successful and actually make a difference in the world,” he said. “Also it’s really cool when lots of people are able to benefit from something that I’ve made.”

Yoonho Kal, a Korean student at the BYU English Learning Center, volunteered for the project and translated about 500 English phrases into Korean. He said the entire translation took only three days, spending about an hour each day.

“It’s really easy so you don’t need a tutorial,” he said. “You just translate the phrases in Korean and record them in Korean. And most of them were very simple, it was like, ‘where is the nearest gas station?’ I was also satisfied to get a certificate. It was a meaningful experience.”

Students who are interested in volunteering the project may send an email to .

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