Skype to translate live voice calls

May 29, 2014 | Mobile, Online video

Microsoft is updating its Skype platform so it can translate voice calls between people in real-time as they talk. In an on-stage demo at the Code conference this week, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella showed off Skype Translator, an upcoming version of the service that is capable of translating voice conversation in “near real-time” using technology […]

Microsoft is updating its Skype platform so it can translate voice calls between people in real-time as they talk.


In an on-stage demo at the Code conference this week, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella showed off Skype Translator, an upcoming version of the service that is capable of translating voice conversation in “near real-time” using technology developed by the company’s Skype and Translator teams.
The use can talk in their native language to another user who speaks a different language, and Microsoft will translate it to the other person.
“Ever since we started to speak, we wanted to cross the language boundary,” Nadella said before showing off a development version of the software, which will be out in beta later this year and possibly as a commercial product within the next two-and-a-half years.
The feature may not come free, Nadella added, but is already good enough to work between English to German, with plans to get it working with a number of other languages.
In a follow-up post, Gurdeep Pall — Microsoft’s VP of Skype and Lync —said Skype Translator will arrive first as a beta app for Windows 8 by the end of this year. Nadella says the company’s eventual goal is to get it on all devices, big or small.
On the Microsoft Research site, the company said it’s been working on machine translation for more than a decade, and that translating voice over Skype was “considered a nearly impossible task.”
However, four years ago the program got a jumpstart with a project that was able to translate phone calls in real-time. A separate project improved speech recognition accuracy, Microsoft said. That eventually bolstered improve other services that listen to human voices, like Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant for Windows Phone.
Read the blog announcement here

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