Skype Translator recognizes and
translates different languages and could give new meaning to cross-cultural
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Microsoft demonstrated the technology at the Code Conference in Palos Verdes,
California on Tuesday night. Invited on stage by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella,
Skype vice president Gurdeep Pall held a video call with a German-speaking
Microsoft employee Diana Heinrichs.
started by greeting Heinrichs in English, his speech recognized by the software
and repeated in German accompanied by subtitles underneath. Heinrichs then
responds in German, with the software repeating her words and providing
subtitles in English. The pair talked for several minutes and covered more
obscure topics like Indian food and London's geography, the software translating
the speech largely without a hitch.
There was one minor mishap close to the end, with
Heinrich telling Pall, "I have many meetings with my colleagues in Redmond and I
take the opportunity to see her fiancé my." Such errors in syntax will be
familiar to anybody who has used Google Translate and indicate that Skype
Translator has some way to go before it displaces language
teachers around the world.
According to Microsoft, the technology has been some time in the making, its
researchers working to overcome the nuances of different
dialects and inconsistencies in speech over a number of years.
not just repeating a single word," says head of Microsoft's Machine Translation
Team, Arul Menezes. "Sometimes, you’ll go three words into a sentence and then
back up and restate it. In some languages, it’s more of a
challenge than others, especially languages like Spanish,
where words have to agree in grammatical gender."
Though not perfect, Microsoft feels it has made sufficient progress to offer a
beta version of Skype Translator to Windows 8 users later this year. While some
have broken minor ground in this area before, with 300 million people logging
into Skype each month Microsoft is set to find out pretty quickly whether its
translator can speak to its users scattered all around the globe. You can see a
demonstration of the translator in video below.
Source: Gizmag URL: