Microsoft has revealed that Skype Translator will launch some time this year, enabling the real-time translation of languages over a voice or video call.
New Microsoft president Satyna Nadella recently presented this exciting new technology at the inaugural Code Conference in California.
Skype Translator is at the product of a joint effort from the VoIP giant and the Microsoft Translator team – which are of course both part of the same big company now. Microsoft has been working on this kind of live translation technology for some 15 years, and we’re about to see the fruits of those labours.
The demonstration showed how languages could be translated in real time over a traditional Skype call – in this case English and German. It seems as if the key to the technology, according to an official Microsoft blog posting from VP of Skype Gurdeep Pall, is “neural network-based speech recognition.”
During the demonstration, the link was drawn between this fledgling technology and the Universal Translator of Star Trek lore. But it seems as if we won’t have to wait 200 years for the first usable example.
“Skype Translator first will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of 2014,” claims Pall. It seems other Skype-bearing platforms (i.e. everyone else) will have to wait a little longer.
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