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Skype Have Released More Languages for Their Instant Translator Tool

In December 2014 Skype introduced the first phase of its Skype Translator preview program on Windows. The initial languages were just Spanish and English, but this month saw the addition of two more: Mandarin and Italian.

The multi-lingual video conferencing tool, also known as Skype Translator, is not yet perfect in these languages. However, according to Microsoft Research’s  Olivier Fontana, the Italian and Mandarin Chinese have reached a level of competency where the Skype Translator team is comfortable releasing the update to the tens of thousands of people currently in the invite-only program.

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The tool is used to translate written messages into a language of your choice, and it also provides continuous text recognition as the call partner speaks into the microphone. In both cases you can listen to the translated speech or simply just read a transcript, it’s up to you.

The translator is highly technical and Microsoft is paving the way, with some ground breaking research in speech recognition. The tool is able to remove disfluencies (errs and umms) and add in its own punctuation and capitalization.

I normally wouldn’t think of Skype as a translating device. I suppose I’d go straight to Google Translate.  But this tool will be helpful to so many people. Businesses with offices in different countries can talk freely to one another, without having to worry about a middleman (human) translator.

This could be seriously good news for us lazy Brits who are a bit useless at learning new languages, although potentially, this might be bad news for people who rely on their bilingual skills for work. For now, let’s just bear in mind, this is only for Spanish and English with the early attempts of Mandarin Chinese or Italian. So let’s not panic yet. It also makes me wonder what the French and Germans have done to offend Microsoft.

More than anything, I can’t help but feel sorry for the people listening to recordings to help develop this software.  But, hey, someone has to do it for the greater good of technology.

Click Here to watch the video advert.

And if you want to join in on the preview and maybe help give feedback, all you have to do is Sign Up

Megan Herdson
Megan is a country girl who moved to the city with some big dreams. She is studying her MA in Creative Writing whilst also managing an American Football Team.  She loves her blog and wants nothing more than to have her words read. That and to win the Championship, obviously. Follow her @MeganAtSMF

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Skype Have Released More Languages for Their Instant Translator Tool Reviewed by Megan Herdson on Friday, April 10, 2015 Rating: 5
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