The 2014 Recode Code Conference held at Palos Verdes, California, was the site of Microsoft’s latest announcement regarding the development of a translator service for Skype. Simply dubbed the Skype Translator, the feature is expected to hit the market later this year in the form of a Windows 8 beta.
According to the tech giant, a real-time language translation feature would perfectly complement the popular Internet phone service of the company.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, who went on to offer a live demonstration to the eager audience during an onstage interview. As part of the preview for the new service, Nadella conducted a conversation with Gurdeep Singh Pall, the chief of Skype, who spoke in German. The new program allowed Skype to provide real-time and mostly accurate translation of the German language into English, and vice versa.
According to the information offered by Microsoft at the conference, the new Skype Translator will make its debut as a consumer beta for Windows 8 in the later part of the year. The program is stated to currently support translation for close to 40 languages.
Nadella added that Microsoft plans to make the service available on all sorts of devices and claimed that the Skype Translator was part of Microsoft’s attempt to create a unique learning system that improved with the addition of new data.
A blog post was published by the Microsoft Corp. in conjunction with the demonstration, in which Pall commented that the new feature was the outcome of a decade-long research into the fields of speech recognition, machine learning technologies and automatic translation capabilities.
Pall believes that the new Skype Translator will serve as a gateway product to other exciting “possibilities” aimed to help consumers make meaningful connections in ways they never could have before in various avenues of life such as diplomacy, education, business and in multilingual families.
He further compared the new real-time Skype Translator to the Universal Translator seen in the popular sci-fi classic show, Star Trek, and said that the potential of the new project was every bit as exciting as the Star Trek examples.