“Dude, you got a translation button.”
Love across language barriers has a mixed track record of success — but in the case of one AI-assisted couple, the fires of love are still burning strong.
As the New York Times reports, a couple who met through a mutual friend’s idea to set them up on a blind date, and who currently live on either side of the US-Mexico border, have for months used various AI tools to help them bright the gap between English and Spanish.
On their first date, which took place at the Mexicali, Mexico Applebee’s where Brenda Ochoa works, the woman and her paramour, LeRoy Romero, used translator apps like Google Translate to communicate. They shared a margarita and, as Romero told the NYT, didn’t engage in the usual first-date small talk due to the language difference.
“I felt it was nice,” the 45-year-old Arizona resident said, “without all the useless chatter.”
After going back home to Arizona, Romero realized that Captions, an app he uses for work, could help him in his personal life too. Along with being able to create and edit videos with, you guessed it, custom captions, the app also has pretty impressive lip-dubbing translation capabilities.
Specifically, Captions’ powerful translation AI, which is also available as a standalone app called “Lipdub,” can mimic users’ natural voices and lip movements when translating their videos into other languages. Although similar technologies are very worrisome in other contexts, this one has apparently done wonders for Ochoa and Romero’s relationship.
Just a four-hour drive apart, the pair get to see each other in person once every month when Romero drives down to Mexicali to see Ochoa, but when they’re apart, they use a variety of AI translation apps to communicate. Clearly a tech-savvy guy, Romero even has a pair of earbuds with a two-way simultaneous translation feature that helps understand what his Mexican paramour is saying in real time.
The 45-year-old Arizonan didn’t use any of those services, however, when he placed a call to a different woman in Mexicali: Ochoa’s grandmother, whose blessing he asked for before proposing to his partner in person. (He translated that message himself, as he’s now learning Spanish; Ochoa is learning English as well.)
Now engaged, the two plan to wed this coming summer in the pintoresca Mexican beach town of Rosarita. And although the article didn’t say which country they’ll live in, the two have also been working on their IRL language skills together for when they’re husband and wife, too.
“I try to teach him five flashcards a day when he’s with me,” Ochoa told the NYT. “He’ll tell me, ‘No, four — no, three. And I’m like, ‘No — five!'”
AI is, of course, terrifying in a lot of ways — but in the case of Ochoa and Romero, it sounds like it’s helped create something beautiful.
More on AI love stories: Man Uses AI to Talk to 5000 Women on Tinder, Finds Wife
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