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

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

I'm an RHCE and Electrical Engineer who loves gadgets of all kinds. You'll find my writings across Mobile Nations and you can hit me on Twitter if you want to say hey.

89 Comments
  • Star Trek Universal Translator indeed!
  • 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
  • Bescause it's already WP 9...
  • i don't doubt that possibility at all. sometimes i feel like apple is secretly paying the software divisions of microsoft for time exclusives
  • On Finnish site it tells that it comes first for win8 then it comes to other platforms, http://www.tietoviikko.fi/kaikki_uutiset/skype+saa+reaaliaikaisen+puheen...
  • Lol
  • Hahahahahahaha, I'd talk to Japanese girls!
  • Me too :) , I just love Japanese chicks
  • Nice point. Few of them speak even a tiny bit of English.
  • That made me laugh so hard !
  • Hahahahaha! I laughed so loud in office xD
  • If they are already naked, why would you talk to them?
  • Quite a ladies man eh...
  • Nice
  • Hope more countries and languages. This looks promising
  • Dollar dollar bill y'all
  • Cool
  • 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..
  • Windows 8 first as beta.
  • Well probably Windows Phone last :)
  •  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....
  • Yup and Microsoft CEO says Xbox and Bing are not going anywhere.
  • ya they are not going anywhere........all the features will stay at US only....
  • This...!
  • Hehe, good one.
  • This will be useful and/or hilarious, so I'm looking forward to trying it.
  • 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.
  • Knowing MS, this will be available in beta at first, and you will be able to translate US English to US English ... No wait ...
  • More than one language is spoken here in the US you do know that right?
  • Yeah I know, it's was supposed to be a joke. Fail.
  • 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.
  • I'd laugh if it wasn't so likely to be true... Well, Skype hardly works on WP anyway.
  • Cool idea but how about fixing Skype to work well on every platform especially mobile. 
  • +Icon
  • Iconic!
  • yep, and making Voicemail work on WP and RT would be more helpful (to me)
  • 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.
  • That would be funny if it wasnt so likely
  • Totally true.  It would set WP apart as the phone to have for purposes of business, academia, etc.     MS are you reading this?  
  • Translate this. Where is WhatsApp?
  • Boring question, they fucked it up to ruin your month
  • Try number 2
  • Video of Skype Translator in action. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu9kMIeS0wQ
  • YouTube sucks. Won't click.
  • Great idea, and Skype need to improve the services more
  • I'm sure it will have issues in the beginning, but I'm sure it will improve over time. :)
  • I'll certainly help improve it if I can. I know 4 languages after all.
  • I can talk to Korean chicks sexy girls
  • I imagine the first missed translation causing WWIII. Bill Gates will be blamed.
  • LMAO
  • South Park: The Movie
  • But only on iOS and android for a year then windows phone
  • 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. 
  • mind blown.
  • I don't always use this comment; but when I do - it truly is!   Great job MS. Take this to market and dominate.
  • Wow
  • Coming to iOS and Android in 2014. Coming to Windows Phone in 2019.
  • FTW
  • Amazing
  • A-M-A-Z-I-N-G
  • These are few things why I love Microsoft.
  • Quite good, but it has some difficulties with longer, more complex sentences. I'll be amazed if it gets these right.
  • Did anyone think the German woman eyes were going to pop out? Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • It's not real-time but wait-for-it-time. Still pretty cool!
  • 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.
  • Maybe I'll be able to survive German 103 next semester.
  • +1020
  • If this can be accurate - it'll be awesome!!!!
  • 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.
  • So when is MS going to give a full featured skype for its is own OS (windows phone)??
  • Only way to talk French and German people in the future....
  • If it's not a YouTube video, better yet.
  • Mind = blown.
  • Does this mean that Cortana will be available in danish?
  • That is some cool stuff right there.
  • her fiance my ----> real person is doing the translation?
  • This could be a big hit if done right
  • 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.
  • Ausgezeichnet!  I hope they are also working on ASL (American Sign Language) to English translation.
  • ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!  Now that is innovation. On a sidenote, did anyone else think those 2 hosts were arrogant and stuck up?  Gosh!
  • So why doesn't Microsoft's Translate WP app do this?
  • 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.
  • Well, pretty good if you can get real-time translation using Skype. But what is more awesome than to learn to understand and speak the German language? http://preply.com/en/german-by-skype helped me a lot and now, I can speak and understand German with ease. As simple as that. Danke!