Speaking In Tongues

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Language can be an imprecise form of communication. Many words have more than one meaning, and our reliance on slang, dialect, foreign phrases and jargon can create even more confusion. A dish can be a vessel for serving food, the food itself, a nice-looking individual or a verb that invites us to gossip. No wonder computer search engines sometimes fail us — they don't understand us.

Now comes Albert (www.albert-inc.com), a Swiss software company that's developed an everyday-language search engine that understands how we speak — in 20 different languages. "It is...