Remember those four years of Spanish classes? Yeah, somehow we all took a foreign language, yet I’m more fluent in Internet lingo than the language I sat in class after class for. Skype has your back though. Fake it till you make it.
Microsoft is looking to remove the communication barrier of speaking only one language. I’m not positive, but I think Microsoft is singling out us Americans. All jokes aside, the Skype Translator project looks to be incredible. The first version will support English and Spanish, and will translate conversations in near-real time.
“Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each individual platform for our more than 300 million connected users,” the company said in a blog post.
Machine learning is key to the program, and the more people use it, the more precise the translations are. The applications for classroom learning are incredible, so Skype Translator will have the users it needs.
Microsoft unveiled the Skype Translator project by demoing a conversation between two students – one in the United States and the other in Mexico. Each used their native languages, and the program generated the translations during the conversation.
Steve Clayton, the chief storyteller at Microsoft, told ABC Skype Translator was his dream project.
“My mother-in-law is Chinese. In the 25 years I have known her, we’ve exchanged about six words,” he said.
“My dream feature is to get to speak to my mother-in-law, which some people wouldn’t say is a dream feature,” he quipped. “But for me, it turns out it is a dream feature.”
Yeah, anyone want to place bets on him accidentally on purpose deleting a feature or two at home? I can just see someone’s in laws telling you download Skype. You do it, and it’s an immediate ‘oh god no’ reaction.
Skype Translator is available as a preview on Windows 8.1 and on the tech preview of Windows 10.
Microsoft is already jumping in on the educational uses with the marketing pieces being devoted to classroom learning. Check out the first ad for Skype Translator below.