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December 14, 2016

Microsoft to launch translator app for Windows, other operating systems

The move is part of the company's efforts to rival others in AI space.

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft is set to introduce a translator app for Windows and other operating systems offered by its competitors Apple and Google.

The move is aimed at posing increased competition to other players in the artificial intelligence (AI) space.

Microsoft research executive Lili Cheng was quoted by Bloomberg as saying at an event in San Francisco that the translator app has the ability to convert nine spoken languages and 50 written ones.

The app depends on AI techniques like speech recognition and machine translation.

Microsoft said: “The personal universal translator has long been a dream of science fiction, but today that dream becomes a reality: Microsoft Translator now translates in-person conversations in real time with up to 100 speakers using their own smartphone, tablet.”

The new feature enables people to communicate in different languages face to face using their own language on their own device.

The technology giant also announced a software tool kit for device manufacturers who plans to include its Cortana digital assistant in their products.

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The tool kit will be made available next year.

Microsoft said: “The Cortana Skills Kit is designed to help developers reach the growing audience of 145 million Cortana users, helping users get things done while driving discovery and engagement across platforms: Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox and new Cortana-powered devices.”

Its rivals Google, Amazon and Apple have already released their AI-powered digital assistants to other developers.

The company has also introduced a QNA bot that enables website developers to insert a bot in place of a site’s FAQ section to answer questions.

Microsoft said that over 67,000 developers are currently using its Bot Framework and Cognitive Services.

The tech giant’s VC arm has recently launched a new venture fund to invest in AI companies focused on inclusive growth.

The fund has picked Element AI, an incubator and platform that helps organizations embrace an AI-first strategy, for its first investment.

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