Imagine being able to have a proper conversation with your Japanese sister-in-law without the help of an interpreter. Well, soon you might be able to do just that with Microsoft showcasing what it calls the Skype Translator app at the inaugural Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
At the event, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Re/code’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher looking on, Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft corporate vice president of Skype and Lync demonstrated the new app which translated his conversation with a German colleague in real time. Everything said in English was translated to German in text and voice with an insignificant lag.
Nadella said the demo was an attempt to show how “we are entering a new era of more personal computing” and how Microsoft’s goal was to create computing experiences that are “more natural, more human, more like us”.
Pall, in a blog post later, explained that “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”. He underlined how the 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”.
Skype Translator will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of 2014.