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May 29, 2014

Real-Time Speech Translation Coming to Skype This Year

Microsoft is about to break the language barrier.

By the end of the year, the software giant will release Skype Translator, its upcoming technology that can translate speech, practically in real-time.

“In our industry, we often talk about pursuing big, bold dreams, and of how we’re limited only by the power of our imaginations,” Skype corporate vice-president Gurdeep Pall said in a blog post. “Skype Translator is one of those endeavors.”

Using Skype Translator a person will be speak in the language of their choice and the words will then be translated into the recipient’s chosen language.

After one person speaks, the system then does its best to audibly translate the words in real time. On the Skype display will be a text translation of what was said to act as a fail safe in case the automated voice makes a mistake.

CEO Satya Nadella and Pall gave a demo of the new technology at this week’s Code Conference hosted by Re/code.

The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, as Pall conversed with a German colleague.

Check out the video below:

The technology works by combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition, Pall said.

“Skype Translator is a great example of why Microsoft invests in basic research,” he added. “We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they’re emerging as important components in this more personal computing era.”

Skype Translator will be released as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of the year.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.