Talking tech since 2003

Today, Microsoft announced the first phase of its Skype Translator preview, which will allow for conversations to be translated into other languages in real time. We heard about the Skype Translator back in May, when the company said that it would roll out its preview for Windows 8 and 8.1 systems later this year – and it seems today’s the day when we’ll finally get the chance to check it out.

According to Microsoft’s announcement, made on the Skype Blog, the translation program is kicking off with just two spoken languages – Spanish and English – as demonstrated in this video:

Additionally, Skype Translator will also translate “40+ instant messaging languages,” meaning that your typed chats can be translated as you go. It’s a pretty amazing idea, and if Microsoft and Skype can get it right, it can change the world.

According to Microsoft, the more people use Skype Translator, the better it will become:

“Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets. We are starting with English and Spanish, and as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve. We also need your help to expedite new language releases. So make sure you sign up, let your language preferences be known and get involved!”

To test out the Skype Translator preview, you need to sign up here, and you’ll also need to be running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1., including desktop or mobile versions of the operating system.

Is this how we get our Universal Translators? Is Star Trek closer than we ever could’ve hoped? Will Skype figure out how to create transporters and food replicators next? I say yes, most certainly. Or, at the very least, it’ll be easier to make new friends in Peru or Austria or whatever.

[Skype Translator Preview]


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