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New Skype tool does real-time translation

Skip the language classes, the future is here

Microsoft has released its first preview of Skype Translator, software that can translate language as it is spoken.

The initial release enables real-time translation of English and Spanish, enabling speakers of those languages to chat without needing to understand each other’s language.

Further languages are planned to be added soon.

The technology is embedded within Skype; set up a voice or video call with someone who speaks another language and, as you start talking, an audio translation is automatically played.

This video, of a demo carried out between a school in the US and one in Mexico, gives a flavour of what the tech can do.

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Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft’s corporate vice-president of Skype and Lync, wrote in a blog post: “We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade.

“Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets. We are starting with English and Spanish, and as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve.”

Anyone running the latest version of Windows can register now to download Skype Translator.

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