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1934 __ « The Lost Language »
David Henry Keller (1880-1966)
Comment : Sound-Transposing Machine, a very early example of machine translation of speech-to-text and text-to-speech : A device that scans a printed page and reads it out loud. In this fascinating story, a child is lost within his own world. However, he makes symbols. Does he have his own secret language? And how can you hear it? A great scientist is put to the test. Note the additional feature of being able to vary the speed at which the device reads the text. « "I have done it," he said simply, "and you do not owe me a cent... In a month's time, tired people will be placing pages of a book in their machine and hear it read to them..." Then an entire page of the lad's typing was run through the sound-transposing machine, purposely slowed so that the sounds could be differentiated. ». Another idea of the use of a machine transcriptionist was the Vibrowriter : « There was a man there, Henry Jordan, who had gained international renown by his work with vibrations. He was the inventor of the vibrowriter, the new typewriter that could be talked to, and which transposed the spoken sound into typed words, a contrivance which made perfect spelling possible, provided the words were perfectly pronounced. ».David Henry Keller (most often published as David H. Keller, MD, but also known by the pseudonyms Monk Smith, Matthew Smith, Amy Worth, Henry Cecil, Cecilia Henry, and Jacobus Hubelaire), was a writer for pulp magazines in the mid-twentieth century who wrote science fiction, fantasy and horror. He was the first psychiatrist to write for the genre. Keller's work often expressed strong right-wing views( Everett F. Bleiler claims he was "an ultra-conservative ideologically"), especially hostility to feminists and African-Americans. While a number of Keller’s works are considered dated and utilize plot lines or ideas that have since been dismissed as too simplistic or clichéd, other stories contain the detailed ramifications of future technology and address taboo issues of that era (such as bisexuality) that a reader might expect in a modern science fiction story. The level of complexity found in Keller’s writing rises above many other pulp stories of the same period and holds the promise of “science fiction literature” that would be fulfilled during the Golden Age of Science Fiction. “The Lost Language” was first published in “Amazing Stories”, Jan. 1934. (Compiled from various sources)
Source : Messac, Régis (1939), “David Henri Keller et le roman scientifique aux États-Unis”, les Primaires, numéro de mai-juin 1939.
Source : Keller, David H. (1934), “The Lost Language”, In Amazing Stories, Jan. 1934; republished in “Mutants”, edited by Isaac Asimov, Grafton & Grafton, 1984; and also In "Science Fiction Of The 30s", edited by Damon Knight, Avon, 1977.

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