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Real-time speech translation coming to Skype later this year, shown in video

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At the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA tonight, head of Microsoft's Skype and Lync Gurdeep Singh Pall showed off a peek at what he and his team have been working on — real-time speech translation for Skype calls.

The demo showed Pall's English being translated — both the speech and in captions — to German, as his German colleague's voice was translated to English. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the feature would be available (in beta) later this year. The company plans to have the feature on "as many devices and apps as possible."

Update: Video added of the event but note it's not a YouTube video

Source: Re/Code, Tech Crunch

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Reader comments

Real-time speech translation coming to Skype later this year, shown in video

88 Comments

You know....this is one of the many reasons I love Microsoft. This will be beneficial to me in a lot of ways. Talk of collaborating with other researchers in different countries.

Yeah unfortunately it will come out on mac OSX, IOS, android, windows XP, and then a year or so to windows 8.1 and never to wp8.1

i don't doubt that possibility at all.

sometimes i feel like apple is secretly paying the software divisions of microsoft for time exclusives

Probably on ios first. Still waiting for desktop sharing and multiple video calls on Windows 8. Voice mail support would be good too. Hopefully the new version of store that they promised for next month will be worth waiting for..

 looks extremely far fetched to really work as inteded but i cant wait to try it, this is the kind of thing i like tech companies doing, reaching for the impossible

They are just doing what they try already all the time. I think it is easy to believe that consumers gets stuff right after everyone else

There will never be a true real time translation, this is about as good as you can get... German, french and most launguages are in a different layout to english.. direct translation leads to backward scentances and just plain weird words in the middle... for a pure example, feelings... in english we say we ARE what ever feeling... in nearly every other launguage they say the feeling is upon me/you... i am a person with sadness not i am sad....

Very cool.  They have been showing off their real time translation during some of their conferences for years, glad to see that they think it is good enough for general public use now.

Have MS managed to resolve 1+3/3 with their standard calculator? 30 years + and they cannot solve the simplest arithmetic problem. 

Anyway I hope its resolved on the SPro 3.

Long time ago like 1 year, I was able to send video msg to the group now I'm not be able to do it again, but only for 1to1 convos. Its like MSFT deleted the feature to send vid msg to group chat

If this was WP exclusive I would be the killer feature that would practically force tons of people to switch. It would be that groundbreaking.

So we know it's probably coming to WP last.

Totally true.  It would set WP apart as the phone to have for purposes of business, academia, etc.  

 

MS are you reading this?  

It isn't going to be any good. It's not going to be good enough for business or government and those are the only people who are going to use it. 

Quite good, but it has some difficulties with longer, more complex sentences. I'll be amazed if it gets these right.

You can't really do realtime translation from voice recognition. Syntax is different in different languages so you can't do word-to-word translation.
You would need some kind of thought reading but that would not work with people who speak before thinking :P

The german translation is bad, the english translation seems much better. And the german woman reminds me of myself talking (german) to my windows phone: you have to talk very clear and slow for it to recognize the speech (alomst like a robot).

Sounds like how Kinect was when it first came out. Now you can practically whisper or mumble and it understands you. Hopefully translation will be able to evolve just as quickly.

Nobody will use Skype anymore in 2 years when WhatsApp/facebook combine messaging, VoIP and camming. Another battle lost lazy MS. Skype is the most worthless developer team ever. What a sucky app. Amazing.

This would make a great bit on The Daily Show. Have one of the DS reporters use a Translator App at a White House press conference or Congressional statement to translate the BS into what they really mean.

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!  Now that is innovation.

On a sidenote, did anyone else think those 2 hosts were arrogant and stuck up?  Gosh!

This is pretty damn cool. Technology is a wonderful thing when it works as planned. This brings Star Trek's universal translator one step closer to reality. Maybe they can use Kinect to make the holodeck next.