Microsoft teases real-time Skype voice translations, to launch on Windows first

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday introduced the world to a new real-time translation feature for popular Skype voice over IP software, which the company says will debut in beta form on Windows later this year with support for other platforms to follow.



At Re/code's first ever Code Conference, the Redmond, Wash.-based company presented the translation technology in an onstage demo, with VP Gurdeep Singh Pall conversing with a German-speaking Microsoft employee.

According to those present for the demonstration, there was little to no delay in Skype's translation between English-to-German or German-to-English, but accuracy was spotty. Pall noted that Microsoft wanted each person to finish speaking so audience members could hear the machine translation.

Pall said Microsoft is looking to make the translation service more accurate by harvesting data from real Skype conversations, nailing down colloquialisms and non-dictionary word usage, among other intricacies. A stumbling block is consumer privacy, of course, but Pall noted that agreements from only a small fraction of Skype's huge user base would provide more than enough information.

A number of software makers, including Google and third-party firms creating iOS apps, have fielded their own versions of translation tools to limited success. What makes the new Skype tech exciting is its ability to deliver speech-to-speech translation for an entire conversation, not just single words or sentences.

Microsoft plans to debut the tech in a consumer beta version of Skype for Windows sometime this year and said "a handful" of languages will be supported at launch. Following a rollout for Windows 8, the company will eventually add more languages and support for other platforms, which likely include Apple's OS X and iOS.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    mrsneezymrsneezy Posts: 47member
    Awesome More Vaporware from the Vaporware specialists
  • Reply 2 of 50
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,737member

    As cool as their take on the Star Trek "universal translator" could be (assuming it works better than other language manglers translators), launching on Windows is not enough to get me to use Windows again (never again, if I can help it).

     

    But, good on Microsoft for creating something innovative. After all Google Apple needs competition. ;) 

  • Reply 3 of 50
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    mrsneezy wrote: »
    Awesome More Vaporware from the Vaporware specialists
    Um they actually showed this off at the Code conference and said it was coming later this year. What exactly is vaporware about it? I want to know when we'll see this with FaceTime.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    As cool as their take on the Star Trek "universal translator" could be (assuming it works better than other language manglers translators), launching on Windows is not enough to get me to use Windows again (never again, if I can help it).

    But, good on Microsoft for creating something innovative. After all Google Apple needs competition. ;)  
    So will we see this with FaceTime so Apple can show everyone how to do it properly? ;)
  • Reply 5 of 50
    mrsneezymrsneezy Posts: 47member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    So will we see this with FaceTime so Apple can show everyone how to do it properly? image

    I hope so, I am sure it is not too far of a stretch to have siri do it as technically speech recognition is translation to binary why not have it pipe back in a designated language what it thinks it heard?

  • Reply 6 of 50
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,737member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    So will we see this with FaceTime so Apple can show everyone how to do it properly? image

     

    Apple has got pretty much all the IP to do it with Siri. They just need to tap into it. Siri understands multiple languages, so they'd just have to do a translator and add it to FaceTime. In fact, there are some apps in the iOS App Store that can listen to one language and speak the translation in another, but for short phrases or simple sentences. What Microsoft did was marry that with Skype, and it's a terrific idea. Like I said, good on them for doing it. I guarantee you that Google will do something like it, just to keep up with Microsoft.

  • Reply 7 of 50
    mrsneezymrsneezy Posts: 47member

    its vaporware because they did not release it but just showed you a demonstration Micro$haft have shown off many things they never actually released.

  • Reply 8 of 50
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    mrsneezy wrote: »
    its vaporware because they did not release it but just showed you a demonstration Micro$haft have shown off many things they never actually released.
    is CarPlay vaporwear because no one can buy a car with it yet?
  • Reply 9 of 50
    yoyo2222yoyo2222 Posts: 115member
    That will make it easier for the NSA.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,215member
    The King of vaporware and terminal beta is Google.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    mrsneezymrsneezy Posts: 47member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    is CarPlay vaporwear because no one can buy a car with it yet?

    Yes 

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware

  • Reply 12 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by MRsneezy View Post

    Yes 

     

    No, not in the slightest.

  • Reply 13 of 50
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    mrsneezy wrote: »
    You obviously don't have a clue what vaporware is.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    To think they had all that time to rehearse their small talk and it still didn't perform to the level of hype worthy of an announcement. Amusingly despite how different English and German sound, they're remarkably similar languages.

    Why am I so pessimistic?

    Voice recognition isn't there, not for any language, not from any provider. Not from Microsoft, not from Google, not from Apple. It's good for commands, but not for conversational scenarios where context determines the correct or near homophone and the effect of mood on language clarity.

    However even if they fixed voice recognition - translation is still not there. I use both google and bing's translation services frequently (multiple times a day, coincidentally it's for English/German as per the demo.) Even when the input is ideal (grammatically correct), the error rate is high, the results frequently cause amusement, the output grammar is terrible and there is no compensation for idioms or colloquialism. Worse still, even basic beginner German translation is full of novice errors.
    The most these translation services give you is a caveman-like interpretation of the intended statement, even still, there are still outliers in the translation which need to be ignored or risk throwing off the meaning. These services are really useful to people who already speak both languages and just need a prod to remember a word here or there, for everyone else it's just a finger pointing into the wind.

    "Real-time" is just false advertising, even in languages as similar as English and German, the whole sentence structure is needed to discern the meaning. In the most extreme examples, simply changing the last or second last word in a sentence can change the entire meaning or context of the statement.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    mrsneezymrsneezy Posts: 47member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    You obviously don't have a clue what vaporware is.

    apparently i need to quote Wikipedia for you rather then just give you a link

     

    Vaporware


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


     


     



    This article is about a computer industry term regarding product releases. For the company, see VaporWare (company). For the musical genre, see vaporwave.







    The U.S. Justice Department accused IBM of intentionally announcing its System/360 Model 91computer (pictured) three years early to hurt sales of its competitor's computer.


    Vaporware is a term in the computer industry that describes a product, typically computer hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially cancelled. Vaporware is also a term sometimes used to describe events that are announced or predicted, never officially cancelled, but never intended to happen. The term also generally applies to a product that is announced months or years before its release, and for which public development details are lacking. The word has been applied to a growing range of products including consumer, automobiles, and some stock trading practices. At times, vendors are criticized for intentionally producing vaporware in order to keep customers from switching to competitive products that offer more features.[1]


  • Reply 16 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by MRsneezy View Post

    apparently i need to quote Wikipedia for you rather then just give you a link


     



     

    No, the term is never applied like that.

  • Reply 17 of 50
    mrsneezymrsneezy Posts: 47member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    No, the term is never applied like that.


    So the fact that it is Applied like that in Wikipedia has no bearing on your "Theory" interesting. 

     

    lets agree to disagree

  • Reply 18 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by MRsneezy View Post

    lets agree to disagree


     

    No, let’s teach you what vaporware actually is.

  • Reply 19 of 50
    mrsneezymrsneezy Posts: 47member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    No, let’s teach you what vaporware actually is.


    Can you also teach Wikipedia and the rest of the industries that use the term as they also don't understand your definition either

  • Reply 20 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by MRsneezy View Post

    the rest of the industries

     

    Yeah, never heard anyone in any industry use it in that case. Long cycle announcements become vaporware when they don’t show. Not before.

     

    In your world, the iPhone was vaporware.

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