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Beam Me Up Skype Translator!

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What would the world look like if everybody spoke one language? We think a lot of conflicts would be resolved and our civilization would advance to the place where we’re more like Star Trek and less like a train wreck. Thanks to new technologies like Skype Translator, the language barrier may soon be a thing of the past!

Currently in the beta testing phase, Skype Translator makes use of the already-robust Skype video conferencing solution and adds a real-time virtual translator. When you see Skype Translator in action, it feels like you’re in a science fiction movie. Essentially, two people speaking two different languages can have a conversation by talking into the microphone as normal. When one person stops talking, their words are translated and read aloud to the receiver by a computer-generated voice. Additionally, text is displayed on the screen, kind of like real time closed captioning.

Skype Translator sounds too good to be true, but it’s a reality, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella premiered it last May at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. At the conference, a live demonstration was given with two Skype team members video conferencing each other. One person spoke English while the other spoke German, and the beta version gave a nearly flawless performance. The software even allowed for the speakers to use complete thoughts and full paragraphs.

We mentioned earlier how a technology like this can change the world for the better. The classic science fiction TV show Star Trek serves us with an example of what the future could look like without a language barrier. In the TV show, characters use a technology called a Universal Translator so that everybody can understand everybody. According to StarTrek.com, the Universal Translator works by, “scanning brainwave frequencies and using the results to create a basis for translation.” This convenient technology tidies up plot lines and explains how the blue-skinned Andorians can speak English. It doesn’t explain how their lips sync up to what they’re saying, but we don’t want to ruin our favorite TV show by getting too picky.

Instead of using brainwaves, Skype Translator uses a complicated system of 21st Century computers. WorkIntelligent.ly gives us the technical rundown of what Satya Nadella calls “magic.” When Skype translates in real time, “graphics processors inside the computers combines thousands of speech micro-segments, and work through up to 66 million connections made by supercomputers which analyze more than 300 hours of human speech training examples.”

Skype Translator is an impressive and possibly even world-changing piece of technology, and it’s scheduled to be available as a Windows 8 beta application/add-on before the end of 2014. The possibilities of what can be achieved with this new tech are promising, especially when it becomes available as a mobile app.

Skype Translator also has huge implications for business. Think about how many new markets your company can reach if we were all one big global community and no longer limited by language! At Tektonic, we believe that technology is the key to a bright future, and we can equip your business with barrier-breaking solutions like Skype Translator. Call us at (416) 256-9928 to learn more about how technology can take your business “where no man has gone before!”

Date: July 17th, 2014, Author: Jorge Rojas

Toronto IT Support  /  Tektonic Blog  /  Technology  /  Beam Me Up Skype Translator!