Microsoft Introduces Real-Time Language Translator via Skype

By | May 30, 2014

Microsoft is going to release a tool for real-time simultaneous translation via Skype, which will be a breakthrough in the field of international communication.

The technology has a rather logical name: Skype Translator. It combines speech recognition, automatic translation, and artificial intelligence. Thus, Skype users will now be able to communicate without any special understanding skills, even with someone who speaks another language.

The technology is based on the idea that participants talk on Skype in their native language, while the tool converts their speech into another selected translation language.

“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,” said Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president of Skype and Lync at Microsoft in a company blog post detailing the introduction.

Skype Translator can certainly be considered a real coup for Microsoft, which acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011. The Skype Translator program, which has long been very popular among video conferencing users, has the potential to further strengthen the service’s market position. In 2014, more than 300 million users connected to Skype every month, and more than 2 billion minutes of conversations took place per day, Pall said.

In 2013, Skype’s total traffic accounted for almost 40 percent of the global telecommunications services market, according to a study by telecommunications research company TeleGeography (News – Alert).

“Such strong traffic growth more than 10 years after Skype’s launch is particularly impressive in light of the growing acceptance of a wide range of alternative over-the-top (OTT) communications applications for mobile devices,” TeleGeography wrote in its market report. “OTT messaging apps are among the most popular mobile apps, and several, including Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook (News – Alert) Messenger, Viber, Line, Tango, Google Hangouts, and Samsung’s ChatOn, have been installed more than 100 million times from Google’s online Play app store alone.”

The beta version of Skype Translator for Windows 8 is expected to be available in 2014.