Microsoft has launched a preview of its Skype Translator technology as a Windows 8.1 Skype Translator app, which enables the translation of typed and spoken messages in close to real time. The preview only covers English and Spanish for now, "and as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve," says Skype's Gurdeep Pall.
The cloud-based technology underlying the app uses machine-learning protocols to "train and optimize speech recognition and automatic machine-translation tasks, acting as the glue that holds these elements together," according to Microsoft's Mo Ladha and Chris Wendt. "This 'glue' transforms the recognized text to facilitate translation." Ladha and Wendt also note error rates fell with the use of Deep Neural Networks for speech recognition.
"Skype Translator will open up endless possibilities for people around the world to connect, communicate, and collaborate; people will no longer be hindered by geography and language," Pall says. "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."
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