Microsoft demos real-time voice translation feature for Skype

By , May 28, 2014

skype voice

Last night at Recode’s inaugural Code Conference, Microsoft announced a new real-time voice translation feature for its Skype VoIP service. The company says it’s currently in beta form, but it plans to eventually roll it out to all devices.

The goal of the feature is to allow users to hold a conversation with someone speaking a foreign language, with Skype providing near-instant voice translations for both parties. And judging by the initial demonstration, it works fairly well…

From Microsoft’s blog post on the new feature:

Skype Translator results from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers, and now is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams. The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition. Skype Translator is a great example of why Microsoft invests in basic research. We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they’re emerging as important components in this more personal computing era. You can learn more about the research behind this initiative here.

And here is a [Flash] clip of last night’s demonstration:

Microsoft says that it plans to launch Skype Translator on Windows 8, as a beta app, by the end of 2014. It then hopes to be able to roll out the feature to Skype apps on other devices and computing platforms, but it doesn’t have a timeline.

Skype is currently available for iOS devices here, and Mac and Windows computers here.

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  • http://tnvr.me/ Tanvir Ahmed

    Isn’t it real time instead of retail time! Typo.

  • David Gitman

    Damn..I hope it will support a lot of languages

  • Thomas Schroeder

    The English to German translation is still bad.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Yay flash!

    /Sarcasm

    Why do people still use this outdated s**t for videos?

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      ‘Cause it’s still popular amongst over 80% of computer users…

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Unnecessarily popular that is. There’s no excuse for not using a HTML 5 video player in the year 2014…

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        I think there’s a reason for that:

        “HTML5 has several serious caveats: first of all, it is a format wilderness. There is no standard video format on html5. Secondly, no subtitles, no watermark, no RTMPe streaming.”

        Has that changed this year?

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        I’m pretty sure the majority of that’s changed except for watermarking and maybe RTMPe. I know for a fact there’s subtitle support though and as for the format I think all the main browsers can play MP4 format now even Firefox…

  • asdfasdf

    As a german I can say this is very staged..
    The woman is speaking very very slow and weird to help for a good translation..

  • Webpain

    #Fail. Thanslation is bad both ways, the whole thing is (badly) scripted, it is far from pre-beta (would call it pre-alpha), the German woman is on drugs (Germans don’t talk like that)

  • Robin Keanu Keim

    Oh my… the german translation is terrible!

    • Gfhgjhjh

      Nadella doesn’t know :p

  • utsav koju

    if apple shits its still beautiful for you fanboy and if some other company innovate its seems terrible for you guys. Stop complaining guys. This innovation is pushing technology forward so accept it. Its still in beta and will grow in future.

    • BoardDWorld

      I voted you up as I do think the complaints are a little overboard. But the words “Microsoft – Future – Grow” are words I just can’t imagine together.

      My experience with a great deal of awesome Microsoft tech goes more like “Microsoft – Future – Failure – Postponed – Cancelled – Disappeared – Scrapped”

      • Guest

        “Ping”

  • http://www.dailynewscompany.com/ dailynewscompany.com

    great this will be good for writers

  • http://www.dailynewscompany.com/ dailynewscompany.com

    nice