New Skype Translator Takes on Google Translate with Speech Translation

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Move over, Google Translate! Microsoft is planning on launching a Skype translator that not only translates text, but speech as well.  

Website RT has some interesting news! At the recent Re/code’s Code Conference, the website says, Microsoft revealed its creation of a translation tool for the online voice-over IP service Skype, which the company bought in 2011.

The software giant claims the translator will be not only be able to translate written, but spoken utterances as well.

During the Re/code’s Code Conference, where Skype Translation was first revealed, the vice president of the application Gurdeep Pall had a chat involving London street names and neighbourhoods with his colleage Diana Heinrichs, who was located in Germany. Pall spoke in English, but Heinrichs replied in German. According to Pall, the application might need a little work, but it won’t take very long before this Universal Translator can be used. He believes the translator is a great way to establish meaningful connections in fields such as education and diplomacy, but in multilingual families as well.

RT states that developers have been working on the Skype Translator for 15 years and that the service is expected to support 40 different languages.

According to the website, Google and Apple are also expected to launch their own, similar translators. The Skype Translator will rely on transfer learning, which, RT says, is how the human brain learns languages as well.

Pall: “Say you teach it English. It learns English, then you teach it Mandarin. It learns Mandarin, but it becomes better at English. And then you teach it Spanish. It gets good at Spanish, but it gets great at both Mandarin and English — and, quite frankly, none of us know exactly why.”

The Skype Translator will first be launched on the Windows 8 beta application at the end of this year. RT states that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, for one, is very excited about the prospect of this translator as it will remove all language barriers. In fact, at the Re/code’s Code Conference, he called it the “most human of things.”

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