It was only a matter of time. A real-time language translation service was demonstrated by the Japan company Docomo at "Wireless Japan 2011." The service is simple, one person speaks into their phone, a cloud based system translates the spoken words to which-ever language, and the correct language is spoken at the other end. However, the person at either end may never hear what the other's voice may sounds like, since the cloud system reads the words back in a pleasant "computer voice." Inflections, verbal suggestions, and pauses for effect are completely filtered out. Docomo reports that the system is not at 100% yet, but the R&D team vows to increase accuracy over time. Meanwhile, they are considering level of inaccuracy that consumers would be willing to take.
Demonstrated on Android based smartphones and tablets, when either side speaks, text of what is said is displayed in both languages on both user's screens. This will enable further corrections after seeing what the other would hear or understand. I would like to have this just for speaking in the same language to other people. Sometimes people are misunderstood, and having it in writing solves that problem.
Only a hand full of times did I have to communicate with people who did not speak a language I know. Almost every time it was for business. So, I would allow for a large margin of error just to be able to speak in real-time.