Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is preparing to launch software that will act as a real-time translator on Skype. This software is supposed to work without any additional devices, translating in real-time.
Technology already in place
A couple of years back, the software giant showcased a real-time language translation tool as a concept, but now it is ready to move into beta stage in an update for Skype by the end of this year. As of now, only few languages will be added for translation for the Windows version of Skype, followed by more languages later. The service will be compatible with nearly all types of computers and mobile devices that Skype customers own or use.
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Google mobile apps already offer speech-to-speech translation for various languages although not for the entire conversation. However, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is planning a more revolutionary software platform than that of Google. Two years back, Microsoft research founder Rick Rashid gave a speech in which Microsoft machines translated his English into Chinese in real-time.
“Every piece of technology was there, but it’s never been put together,” Microsoft VP Gurdeep Singh Pall told Re/code.
In a demo on Tuesday, Singh Pall and another Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) employee Diana Heinrichs had a dialogue through the software. Heinrichs spoke German and discussed Pall’s plan to move to London to join Skype team.
“London is so international, you are going to love it,” Heinrichs said in German, which a female voice translated into English. “The Indian food is great.”
Microsoft expecting bigthings
According to Pall, the company has designed the software in such a way that each person finishes speaking first, so that people could hear each other talk before hearing the translation.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is trying to use the large amount of ongoing conversations on Skype to enhance the translation software. The translation engine will definitely perform better if it can learn from real language, however, this raises privacy concerns as well.
According to Pall, Skype processes more than three-quarter of a trillion minutes of conversations annually. This means if just a small fraction of Skype users agree to allow Skype to use their conversations, Microsoft would have access to more than enough data fo its purposes.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is expecting this new Skype feature to be a game changer in the company’s efforts to ensurie that its technology is not confined to the lab.