Computers & Laptops

Getting closer: Microsoft unveils Skype Translator

Our Bureau Bangalore | Updated on May 28, 2014

Computing needs to be more intuitive to bridge humans-technology gap, says CEO Satya Nadella



As a part of his vision to make computing more intuitive to humans, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella has unveiled Skype Translator.

At the Code Conference in Las Vegas, the newly appointed CEO of Microsoft spoke about the human era of computing and how it needs more intuitiveness that would help more people to embrace technology. “Imagine in the very near future technology allowing humans to bridge geographic and language boundaries to connect mind to mind and heart to heart in ways never before possible,” he said which involved address by competitor Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, Marc Benioff.

Varying platforms

Microsoft officials said that Skype Translator will first be available as a Windows 8 beta app by the end of 2014. Skype itself is available across a number of devices and computing platforms.

The push comes for Skype which, despite having about 300 million users, is concerned about losing its user-base to competitors such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat and others. “While we have a strong user base, language barriers have been a blocker to productivity and human connection; Skype Translator helps us overcome this barrier,” Nadella said.

Showing how it works, Nadella in demo did an audio translation from English to German and vice versa in real-time, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition. “We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they’re emerging as important components in this more personal computing era,” Nadella told the gathering.

Bridging the gap

Microsoft had bought out Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011 and this effort will help in bridging the barrier between technology and humans, according to analysts. “In our industry, we often talk about pursuing big, bold dreams, and of how we’re limited only by the power of our imaginations. Skype Translator is one of those endeavours,” he said.

Published on May 28, 2014

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