Skype’s New Real-Time Translation Feature Future of Languages?

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    Skype Translator, Skype’s long-awaited real-time translation update, is now available for Windows desktop users. The program offers immediate voice-to-voice translation in seven languages – English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish – and instant message translation in 50 additional languages. Only one person has to select the globe icon to automatically make an instant translation available for both users. While the update is still imperfect, it represents another big step in the progress of translation technologies. According to Microsoft, the amount of Skype calls made through the service has increased 400% percent since the launch of the translator and French to English has been the most popular language pair so far. The rollout to Mac, Linux, and mobile devices is expected to come soon.

    The stated goal of the program was “to make it possible for people to communicate irrespective of what language they speak,” according to a Skype press release from 2014, but the team behind Skype Translator acknowledges that it is not a flawless system. “When we watch these things in action on TV [as on Star Trek], it seems so obvious: you just speak and it comes out translated. But when you start digging into the actual implementation and put it in people’s hands to use, there are so many little details that can make or break the experience,” Vikram Dendi, strategy director at Microsoft Research, told the MIT Technology Review. However, the software is constantly under construction, and like Google Translate, the more people who use it, the smarter it gets.

    Sercan Ertan

    About Sercan Ertan

    Now and always, translator from English to Turkish with specialization in education, pedagogy, occupational health and safety, environmental conservation, construction industry and linguistics.

    7 thoughts on “Skype’s New Real-Time Translation Feature Future of Languages?

    1. Have you tried yourself this new feature in Skype? What is your impression? To be honest, it’s difficult to believe that “immediate voice-to-voice translation” is possible.

      1. I have been researching this feature throughout the day. Unfortunately, Skype voice Translator doesn’t support Turkish now and it requires Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. I still use Win7 because of the program compabilities. If you use newer versions of Windows, you can download Skype Translator. I will also be glad to hear your experiences..

      1. Well, of course, I know what I am writing about. How rude is that. You would find many test videos in English, French and Spanish if you could make a little research on the net. This is not an issue of believing in it or not. A good translator is always a good researcher, too.

    2. This demonstrates what misunderstanding can happen when someone makes some stylistic mistake speaking a language which is not their mother tongue (I mean myself). Can you imagine what can happen when translation is done by a machine/program like in this new advertised feature?

      1. Sorry for the outburst, though. I also personally believe that machine translation can not keep up with the amazing things we do. We don’t know what future will bring. But we are all aware of the comfort and convenience that the technology offer so far. So, we will follow the updates and shape ourselves into the new environments. Peace.

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