Microsoft demoed a beta version of an almost immediate voice translation feature for Skype at the first Code Conference event in California.
The experience took place between Gurdeep Singh Pall, Microsoft’s head of Skype and Lync, and a colleague in Germany named Diana. As for specifics, the five minute demo translated English spoken words into German on the colleague’s screen, then replied back from German to English. Apparently an audience member said that work still needs to be done as “the first line was good; the second line was maybe not so good. I understood it.”
Skype Translator first will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of 2014, then eventually rolled out to all device types, including iPhone and Android. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, stated that the company currently has a database of 40 languages, but those will take time to be market-ready.
The goal of Skype Translator is this dream: “Imagine in the very near future technology allowing humans to bridge geographic and language boundaries to connect mind to mind and heart to heart in ways never before possible.” Microsoft noted on its company blog that Skype Translator “is early days”, but is a result “from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers.”