The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Community News Network

May 28, 2014

Skype's real-time language translator

NEW YORK — This week at Re/Code's Code Conference, Microsoft announced a real-time, multilingual translation beta called Skype Translate. The service can mediate between two video chatterers who speak different languages by providing text and audio translation after each person finishes speaking. Currently the service works for English and German, but Microsoft says it will support other languages soon. The beta will be released later this year.

Realistically, Skype Translate won't be ready to take over for interpreters at the U.N. anytime soon. But the fact that it's coming from a large company like Microsoft and being tested on a really mainstream product like Skype shows that we're actually making progress toward a Star Trek-like universal translator - and that's amazing.

There's been tons of research into things like automatic speech-to-text transcription, textual translation (like Google Translate and Bing Translator), and digital speech recognition. But these are difficult machine-learning problems to solve. The big issue is that accuracy needs to be near 100 percent for these services to actually be useful. For example, a recent DARPA speech-to-speech translation program called TransTac achieved 80 percent accuracy, which was a fascinating and significant step, but still not enough for regular use. There are also consumer apps like Vocre that offer services very similar to Skype Translate.

The difference here is that Microsoft is behind this service. Sure, the company may be struggling with its vision for tablets and other next-generation products, but it's still a major player, and Skype is pretty ubiquitous. Whether Skype Translate is a hit right away or, more likely, it takes years to refine, Microsoft is being bold in bringing the technology to the mainstream now.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
E-edition
AP Video
Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Must Read