Microsoft’s Skype Translator Preview starts new communication era (+video)

Skype has developed and now implemented some of the best and most-groundbreaking new technology that has ever been employed in voice chatting, and text chatting to date. The technology allows users to have their voice or text translated to another language. Right now, the update is only available by invitation, and the translations are limited to Spanish and English – but the overall goal of the update is to make communicating between languages more readily available.

It’s called Microsoft Skype Translator, and it works exactly as advertised. Eventually, more than 40 languages will be available through the translator and will work fluently between all types of speak and text. That being said though; there are obvious limitations now. While one individual who tested the product noted that it took a few moments to get used to – ultimately the benefits were really positive.

Though Microsoft is not making the vast level of languages that will eventually be available through their product, available immediately, Microsoft Corporate VP Gurdeep Singh Pall pointed out that “We are trying to be very disciplined about the level of quality we get.” When discussing a specific language that is incredibly popular on the service – German – he noted that it “was close, but did not hit the bar for performance.”

However, German is largely viewed as one of the most difficult and challenging languages to master – and especially translate – largely due to the verb placement in sentences spoken or written in the language. They are found at the end of the sentence, rather than the middle – so the software has to wait until the entire sentence is spoken before it can fully-translate the terms.

The program gives two basic voice options – which are both robotic – but don’t sound too much like a computer speaking back to you. There is a male, and female option – and users can switch between the two at their will. The translation technology is something that Microsoft has been working feverishly at perfecting for some time now, so their move to make this more public is not a surprise.

Moving forward it should have a major impact on how people interact and how people communicate with those who do not speak the same language. The benefits that businesses could unleash being able to interact with a broader range of people, who speak a more diverse range of languages, while still addressing them specifically would be incredibly beneficial. Especially as language diversity continues to grow globally.


About the author

Nitin Agarwal

Nitin has a background in Electrical Engineering and is passionate about the Internet of Things. He covers how connected devices like smart homes, wearables, and industrial IoT are changing our daily lives. Nitin is also a DIY enthusiast and loves to build IoT gadgets.