Skype Translator – Microsoft Reveals Real-Time Skype Tool

Another vision from science fiction’s Star Trek has become a reality (almost!) because before the end of this year, Microsoft has plans to release the beta app Skype Translator which will enable real-time translation of people verbally speaking in different languages.

Skype Translator appears to be an extension of the real-time translation software that Microsoft has been developing over the past ten years. Microsoft did previously showcase the technology in action with real-time translation of speech delivered by Rick Rashid in a speech over in China; then most recently, Microsoft released ‘Bing Translator’, which performs in the same way as Skype Translator, but only on Windows 8.

Chris Wendt, a program manager for the machine language team at Microsoft says:

“We felt speech translation was a very natural evolution of the text-translation work we’ve been doing,”  in a recent blog post.

This new tool for Skype makes more sense than a dedicated app, given the different scenarios in which Skype is used: in business, to talk to friends and relatives internationally, and in education.

Microsoft’s new chief executive Satya Nadella,  introduced Skype Translator at the Code Conference in southern California, where Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Skype and Lync, Gurdeep Pall, demonstrated the translator with a German-speaking colleague.

That demonstration not only provided an oral translation, but a text-based one as well. The original text, as understood by Skype, also appears at the bottom.

While it’s unclear how the beta app of Skype Translator will relate to Skype itself it’s certainly clear that Microsoft is moving ahead in terms of real-time translation.

Microsoft positioned the technology as the Star Trek universal translator—while that really is still  in the realm of science fiction, they don’t appears to be not too far from it. Make it so.



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