How It Works

Find out Friday: The all new Skype Translator

The Skype Translator

Gurdeep Pall,  Corporate Vice President, Skype and Lync, Microsoft. (Image credit: Skype)
Gurdeep Pall,
Corporate Vice President, Skype and Lync, Microsoft.
(Image credit: Skype)

How does the new Skype Translator work? What sort of technology is incorporated?
Skype Translator relies on the machine-learning systems we’ve developed and improved over many years, including translation and speech technologies which power Bing Translator, Cortana and many other Microsoft and partner products and services. Similar to those intelligent services, Skype Translator would continuously improve, and get smarter over time.
(Answered by Skype Spokesperson)

What is the aim and purpose of the new system?
“…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.”
(Answered by Gurdeep Pall)

Do you have any rivals in this part of the market?
While others in the industry have made progress with text-to-text and text-to-speech translation, we are not aware of other solutions that can do speech-to-speech translation of conversations in real time and remotely.
(Answered by Skype Spokesperson)

What is its intended use? Social? Business?
“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.” (Answered by Gurdeep Pall)

What is the future for Skype Translator?
Skype Translator first will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of 2014. Meanwhile, you can check out a timeline of Skype Translator on the Microsoft Research website.
(Answered by Skype Spokesperson)

Can it handle every language, accent and dialect?
We’ll have more to share about languages supported as we get closer to releasing the beta. Our long-term goal for speech translation is to be able to translate as many languages as possible. This is a challenging area of computer science, and one Microsoft is heavily invested in.
(Answered by Skype Spokesperson)

When is its release date?
Skype Translator will be available as a beta for Windows 8.1 before the end of the year.

(Answered by Skype Spokesperson)