Microsoft’s Skype has been one of the best platforms to use for video chat, texting, and communicating with family and friends across the miles, but Microsoft’s new plans for Skype look to take globalization to a whole new level and remove language barriers between individuals from different nationalities.
Earlier this week at the annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos, Verdes, California, Microsoft demoed its new Skype Translator, showing how two people who speak different languages (English and German) could communicate in real-time via Skype chat. The progression of the conversation went from the German speaker to the English speaker, and from the English speaker to the German speaker, with only a few seconds of lapse between human responses. Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Skype and Lync, Gurdeep Pall, served as the German speaker in the Skype Translate demo, while Diana served as the English speaker.
Pall decided to post a response to the Code Conference demo on Microsoft’s blog to talk about Skype Translator as well as what he thinks of this cross-linguistic technology: “As you saw from my conversation with Diana, it is early days for this technology, but the Star Trek vision for a Universal Translator isn’t a galaxy away, and its potential is every bit as exciting as those Star Trek examples. Skype Translator opens up so many possibilities to make meaningful connections in ways you never could before in education, diplomacy, multilingual families and in business,” he said.
Tech companies have become more and more interested in eliminating language barriers over the last few years, with Google implementing a web-based language translator for any webpage you come across, when your native language differs from the language of any webpage. Samsung implemented S-Translator into its Galaxy S4 experience last year to provide a mobile translator for customers who intend to travel to other countries where the spoken language differs from their own. While both Google and Samsung offer assistance to cross language barriers, Microsoft’s Skype Translator will allow Skype users of all languages to converse freely with reduced frustration.
According to Gurdeep Pall, Skype Translator will arrive as an app on Windows 8 (beta mode) by the end of 2014. Productivity just turned easier.