Skype brings us one step closer to a Star Trek future: translates English to …

16 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft’s Skype moves toward auto-translation.

Skype Translator lets users have live voice conversations across different languages. “The preview program will kick off with two spoken languages, Spanish and English… Skype Translator will open up endless possibilities for people around the world to connect, communicate and collaborate; people will no longer be hindered by geography and language.” “One classroom of children speaking Spanish and the other speaking English, Skype Translator removed this language barrier and enabled them to communicate,” Pall said. “Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets.“Skype is now removing another barrier to make it possible for people to communicate irrespective of what language they speak,” announced Skype’s corporate vice president Gurdeep Pall on the company’s official blog. We are starting with English and Spanish, and as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve.” Microsoft announced in May what it called a breakthrough in real-time voice translation, saying it fulfills a vision of the “universal translator” in the Star Trek science fiction series. It also requires a PC running either Windows 8.1 or the Windows 10 Technical Preview, and requires an invitation; you can get on the list through Microsoft’s Skype Translator Website.

Still, the team noted that the feature is still in “preview mode” and operates by self-learning algorithms that will sort out its translation errors through continual use. Why this matters: Having a computer translate conversation on the fly has been the stuff of sci-fi for years, but it’s notoriously difficult to pull off due to the stutters, pauses, slurring and slang that often come up in natural speech.

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