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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Headset  
  Wireless headsets provide computer language translation.  

Chi and Mitsuko converse easily in the novel, with the help of wireless headsets and translation software.

Now they were both wearing wireless ear-clip headsets. The translation was generally glitch-free, except when Mitsuko used Japanese slang that was too new, or when she inserted English words that she knew but couldn't pronounce.

[My brother] Masahiko is seventeen," Mitsuko said. "He is a 'pathological techno-fetishist-with-social-deficit,'" this last all strung together like one word, indicating a concept that taxed the lexicon of the earclips.

From Idoru, by William Gibson.
Published by Putnam in 1996
Additional resources -

This is almost as good as a babelfish. One of the biggest limitations to current translation software is the limited vocabulary; how can you make sure you get a good translation for the latest slang? You wouldn't need to be a techno-fetishist to appreciate being able to access the latest information straight from the wireless headset maker's server.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Idoru
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Idoru
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

Headset-related news articles:
  - Phraselator P2: Speech Recognition And Translation

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