Monday, June 23, 2014

Microsoft Is Testing Out Their Skype Real Time Translator App

Microsoft is working on a real time translator app that will work smoothly with the Microsoft Live chat sessions on their Skype Messenger. Though we have many translator applications that do the text translation in chat conversations, there were no good voice-to-voice translator applications that would perform the job in real time.

Microsoft soon to release their Skype Translator app

Microsoft hopes to bridge this gap with their Microsoft Live chat translator. This is how it will work. Imagine you’re connecting to someone online on the Skype Messenger network, and they speak only French and you, only English. Now, using the Skype voice translator it is possible to have a live voice chat session with this contact by translating his voice data from French to English and yours, from English to French.

Microsoft actually demonstrated this new technology in a press conference a few months ago, where one of their executives used the Skype Translator to chat with a colleague in Germany. The German voice was translated in to English text as well as voice. And, the German executive was listening to the German-translated version of the voice from the executive talking in English.

The Skype Translator app also displayed the translated text on screen while transmitting the voice data. The demo garnered mixed reactions from the audience. As it happens, the German translation was not that great, according to a German member in the audience.

Clearly, Microsoft has to make a few tweaks to the program and get the translation right. The German-speaker who commented was of the opinion that such a crude German translation might not be suitable for business communications. If that is indeed the case, then Microsoft need to work on their translation engine used in this program.

According to Microsoft, they intend to break down the language barriers that exist in the online world, today. Tech experts point out that this involves the use of three technologies – speech recognition, text-to-speech conversion and also, language translation. The end product might not always be a 100%. The meaning intended in the original voice data might not always be correctly captured in the translated voice, especially when colloquialisms and slangs are used in the conversation.

But, Microsoft has clearly demonstrated that it is indeed possible to have a live voice-to-voice translated conversation using their app. Let us hope that the final version they will release in the next few months live up to the expectations.

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