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Microsoft’s new Skype Translator translates languages and calls in ‘near real-time’

Ever wanted to call ahead to plan your travels to a foreign country? Or want to check with your Chinese suppliers about delivery dates? Now you might be able to do exactly that and much more, as Microsoft attempts to tackle the problem of the language barrier. The company is aiming to revolutionize the way we communicate with its new feature for Skype, the Skype Translator.

According to The Verge,  in a demo at the inaugural Code conference today, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella displayed the Skype Translator, an upcoming version of the app that is capable of translating voice conversation in close to real time, using technology developed by the company’s Skype and Microsoft Research teams.

A Microsoft VP demoes the Skype Translator app at the Code Conference. Source: TechNET

A Microsoft VP demoes the Skype Translator app at the Code Conference. Source: TechNET

Nadella said, “Ever since we started to speak, we wanted to cross the language boundary.”

According to Microsoft, Skype connects more than 300 million users a month, and more than 2 billion minutes of conversation a day take place through its network. Skype Translator first will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of 2014. 

The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, using ‘decades of research’ by Microsoft and neural network-based speech recognition.

This video posted online by Microsoft Research explains the feature in more detail:

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