Skype Previews New Real Time Audio Translator

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Microsoft has provided a glimpse at the future of real-time audio translating in a preview of the impressive Skype Translator project.

While it’s currently not quite the intergalactic Universal Translator that Star Trek fans may be accustomed to, Skype’s new trial technology is mighty impressive.

Using speech recognition and intelligent translation technology, Skype Translator allows for almost fluent live conversation between people speaking different languages.

Skype took the new technology into a couple of classrooms worlds apart, one in Washington and one in Mexico City, and used it to help the kids playing a simple guessing game. The results are fascinating.

“Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each individual platform for our more than 300 million connected users,” the company said in a blog post.

“Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets. We are starting with English and Spanish, and as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve.”

According to the company, the Translator employs machine learning, meaning it will feature an ever expanding vocab and at least an initial 40 included languages.  

Microsoft will release the Skype Translator later this month in preview form available to Windows 8.1 users who sign up for the invite-only trial run via the official Skype website