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Skype to introduce real-time automatic translator of conversations
15:41, 28 May 2014, 714

AKIPRESS.COM - Skype hopes to make its international connections easier with a new feature that automatically translates conversations almost in real time, the Forbes said.

Parent company Microsoft unveiled the new technology at the Code technology conference on Tuesday, where Skype vice president Gurdeep Pall made small talk in English with a German-speaking Skype manager in Europe.

After saying a sentence in English, an automated voice translated his words into German.

It’s not quite the real-time universal translator and inevitably for a technology built on the still-tenuous foundations of speech recognition and machine translation, it’s not 100% accurate, the agency wrote.

Skype has 300 million monthly active users around the world, many of whom might see this as a new opportunity to conduct business meetings.It might also spur Google to add a similar feature to Hangouts, and Apple to FaceTime, Quartz’s Dan Frommer notes.

Beyond that, it illustrates how Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella is trying to turn more of the moon-shot technology being developed in his R&D labs, into products.

Microsoft Research, rather than Skype itself, is largely responsible for the new translation feature — the same division that spawned the Kinect.

Microsoft Research started its “machine translation” group 15 years ago and has since been building a “neural network” that combines speech recognition, machine translation and speech synthesis, Nadella said.


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