Microsoft started rolling out a new feature for Skype on Monday: Skype Translator will translate communications from users using different languages in near real-time — that is, as you’re chatting. At first, Skype Translator will work with spoken English and Spanish, as well as forty written languages over instant messaging.
To try it out, you’ll need a computer running Windows 8.1 or a current Windows Phone. You can sign up for the preview here. Users of Skype Translator will need to manually activate the feature for each person they speak to in order to hear their conversation automatically translated. The software will also provide an on-screen transcript of the call.
Microsoft has been working on real-time translation for years in its research wing. The process requires a mastery of speech recognition as well a solid machine translation foundation. In May, Microsoft provided a public demonstration of the machine learning…
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