Skype service will receive a built-in function for translating voice calls into different languages. This was stated by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Code conference.
The recently appointed head of the corporation demonstrated a prototype service called Skype Translator. As stated by Nadella, the novelty can translate the oral conversation between the two interlocutors “in almost real time.” For this purpose, technology is used jointly developed by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams. The top manager hopes that the new option will help overcome the language barrier in the communication of various categories of users.
The beta version of the service will be launched before the end of 2014 and will be available as a standalone application for Windows 8, said Garidip Paul , vice president of the corporation. The full-fledged commercial version of Skype Translator will work over the next two and a half years.
Now, using the new service, you can translate from English to German. Support for other languages will be added over time. The company plans to launch a full-fledged voice translator for all desktop and mobile platforms.
A Microsoft research and development site indicated that machine translation technologies had been underway for more than a decade, and translating voices into different languages was considered an “almost impossible task”. Only four years ago was a breakthrough achieved in this direction. For this purpose, a separate project was opened within the corporation. Microsoft also deployed the speech recognition technology of its voice assistant Cortana, introduced in February this year.
Attempts to organize such a service have been undertaken before. Thus, the Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo offered the service of translating voice messages from Japanese into English in real time in 2011. Google also worked in the same direction, creating technology for translating voice chats by analogy with the instant translation service for text messages and web pages.
Microsoft development differs from its predecessors in the scale of the data being processed. The corporation reports more than 300 million users who spend over 2 billion minutes daily on calls.