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When AI bridged the language divide, they fell in love| GuyWhoKnowsThings


Romero visits Ochoa in Mexico about once a month. But when they're apart, the AI-powered app transports Ochoa to Romero's kitchen or a wrestling tournament while he trains his teenage son. They exchange messages on WhatsApp and video chat while Ms. Ochoa prepares to go to work. In addition to the lip-dub function, Ochoa usually uses his iPad to translate his tête-à-tête, while Romero uses the Timekettle WT2 Edge, headphones with two-way simultaneous translation that help him follow a conversation in real time .

Because their work schedules differ, Ms. Ochoa usually works while Mr. Romero sleeps. “But in the morning, it's always 'Good morning, love,' accompanied by a video of LeRoy wishing me a good day,” she said.

Technology applications aren't always perfect, but Romero said sometimes that's a good thing.

“There are no repeats unless you record the video multiple times,” Romero said of the lip dubbing app. “I think it highlights the perfect imperfections of communication and I think it helps you grow.”

In October, Romero sent a new translated video message, this time to Ochoa's grandmother, seeking her blessing before asking Ochoa to marry him in person. Ridding him of his artificial intelligence assistants, Romero said he meticulously memorized Spanish phrases in the weeks leading up to the engagement. They are planning a wedding for this summer in Rosarito, Mexico.

They realize they probably won't rely on AI tools forever: the couple has also started helping each other learn Spanish and English the old-fashioned way. “I try to teach her five flashcards a day when she is with me,” Ms. Ochoa said. “He'll tell me, 'No, four, no, three.' And I said, 'No, five!'”

In a joint interview this month, the couple conversed in both languages, pausing occasionally to make sure they were on the same page, so Romero was able to offer an “I love you” to Ochoa.


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