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Microsoft gets Skype to translate languages in real-time

Skype Translator will be available on Windows 8 later this year as a limited beta.

By CBR Staff Writer

Language barriers could be a thing of past as Microsoft is preparing to add a real time language translator to its Skype application.

The company has demonstrated the Skype Translator at the ongoing Re/code Conference technology conference in California and plans to release it by the end of the year.

Skype Translator will be available Windows 8 later this year as limited beta and will support 40 languages initially.

During the demonstration, Skype and Lync vice president Gurdeep Pall had a conversation in English with German-speaking Microsoft employee Diana Heinrichs.

Pall said: "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."

"It is early days for this technology, but the Star Trek vision for a Universal Translator isn’t a galaxy away, and its potential is every bit as exciting as those Star Trek examples," he added.

Microsoft Machine Translation team programme manager Chris Wendt said: "We felt speech translation was a very natural evolution of the text-translation work we’ve been doing."

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"It’s an exciting project," he said adding that "and it became clear that adding this capability to Skype and enabling people to have translated conversations was the killer scenario to get this technology into customers’ hands."

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