Microsoft has announced that it has developed a translation feature for Skype calls that works almost in real-time.
Skype Translator, a beta version of which will be launched for Windows 8 later in 2014, promises to remove the language barrier from video and voice calls.
The technology has been in development at Microsoft for several years, and was first showcased in 2012, when the firm (with help from a team at the University of Toronto in Canada) had made a breakthrough that reduced the error rate in speech recognition by over 30 percent.
The team discovered that by using Deep Neural Networks, a technique based on the patterns of human brain behaviour, it could filter out a large portion of erroneous words and thus correctly translate speech more quickly and accurately.
The potential for real-time translation software is huge, both for personal and business users. But one thing Microsoft has yet to reveal is a price for Skype Translator: will it come free as part of the basic Skype package or will it require a fee?
[Via Microsoft Research]