The Sochi Olympics have – quite famously, now – fallen somewhat short of being a showcase of tourism hospitality. The Telegraph, driven either by a desire to help readers or to leverage the Olympics for an easy “travel technology” story or both, today responded by publishing its list of the top 5 best applications and services to “help you cheer on your team of choice to victory.”
First on the list was Israeli company One Hour Translation (OHT):
Users are asked to tweet @OHT an image of the text or the phrase you’d like translated along with the language you’d like it translated into, to receive a reply from a professional translator. For example, “@OHT Where is the bobsleigh track? English – Russian.”
OHT boasts a staff of 15,000 professional language translators and provides translations of over 70 languages. For the Olympics, their services are being provided on demand and free of charge.
A commercial is embedded below highlighting the importance of OHT technology for what might be best termed cultural sensitivity.
The perception that Israel is one of the world’s central innovation hubs has now become all but mainstream.
Israeli innovation has generated relatively straightforward economic upshots. Warren Buffett this summer described Israel as the “most promising investment hub” outside of the United States. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, linked but untangled the two dynamics:
The premier used his remarks to praise his country’s economic prowess, which he credited to “the indispensable element of entrepreneurship” as well as “sound macroeconomic policies.” “Israel is often called the ‘start-up nation,’ but I call it the ‘innovation nation,'” Netanyahu said… “From the Talmud to Einstein, Jewish people were always asking questions,” the prime minister said. “The questioning mind is something in our culture and adds very much to our capacities. We’re very small, everything is close by, and everyone competes and collaborates with each other.” “This is an invitation to innovation nation, it’s open for business, it’s open for your business, please come join us,” he stated.
The role that Israeli innovation has played in boosting the prospects for peace is less straightforward, but there are enough links that joint Israeli-Palestinian high tech ventures have been internationally looked to as potential incubators for long-term cooperation. Palestinians have recently reached an agreement to buy gas from Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field, itself being leveraged in part with technology contributed by Israeli firms.
[Photo: The Open Univesity / YouTube ]