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Skype Translate – new technology from Microsoft looks like the translation breakthrough we’ve been waiting for


We reckon that deep down everyone would like to be a fluent linguist in multiple languages. It’s just so cool to be able to walk into a room and start chatting away in a different language to a friend or family member. As someone who can barely speak one language, that makes me severely envious.

But there’s good new on the horizon for those of us who are languagely challenged, in the shape of the new Skype Translate product. The software, which obviously is an addon for the hugely popular Skype chat program, actually provides something amazing, a near real time audio translation of whatever one or other party is saying.


The Microsoft folks gave a rather impressive demonstration of the technology this week, which was recorded on video, and it definitely looks like it could be the start of a revolution in translation technology. Of course there’s a huge gap between seeing a carefully scripted demo of a beta system, and the final product, which has to cope with different accents and dialects, but this is the first time we’ve seen this level of sophistication on an audio (not text) translation product.

Apparently the software is scheduled to arrive sometime before the end of this year, so until then, auf wiedersehen peeps.


  • I am old enough to just barely remember “The Universal Translator” from the original series of Star Trek. At the time, it seemed just as far away as warp drive or the transporter. I never thought such a thing would happen in my lifetime.

    • Scary fast isn’t it? Amazing.

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