¿Habla usted Español? Parlez-vous Francais? No matter what language you speak, soon you’ll be able to talk one-on-one with anyone in the world right from your computer. This week, Microsoft announced that it’s adding real-time speech recognition and translation to Skype by the end of the year.
Microsoft showed off the tentatively named Skype Translator app this weekend at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. In the demo, which you can watch below, Microsoft Corporate VP of Skype Gurdeep Pall conducts a real-time conversation with a German colleague who only speaks German. As Pall speaks English, his speech is recognized, translated and displayed on the Skype screen. The translation is spoken in German using speech synthesis. Skype then recognizes the German colleague’s response, and likewise translates it immediately back to English.
The key question for this technology isn’t whether Skype can perform translations; it’s whether it will be able to perform translations well. As you can see in the video, the translation is pretty good. It does get the occasional word wrong every now and then, but it’s clear that translation technology has truly matured.
[Translate key on keyboard via Shutterstock]