In an ever inter-connected world, Microsoft’s new release, the Skype Translator, is regarded by many as ambitious breakthrough technology. The new app provides real-time translation during Skype calls, allowing for a better communication beyond linguistic and cultural limitations.
The Translator comes incorporated in Windows 10. The company has been testing it for a while and now, after all the hype, it was finally released to unanimous praise and positive reception. The new app features both male and female voices and is available in six languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin and German.
Programmers and engineers have been working tirelessly to perfect the app by feeding it thousands of hours of human conversation in all the available languages it comes with. In a blog entry, the developing team responsible for the new app stated that
“it has been a long-time dream at Skype to break down language barriers and bring everyone across the globe closer together.”
What sets it apart from other translating tools, according to Microsoft, is the app’s ability to learn and further self-develop with every user interaction. It has a built-in mechanism that allows it to adapt to the specific accents and commonly used phrases of each person, meaning the more you use it, the better and more adequate its future translations will be.
The software developed for these purposes, called “Deep Neural Networks,” enables the Skype Translator to adapt to the rhythm and pace of each conversation. Developers advised users to allow a trial period, in which the app reconfigures itself to the speech patterns of any given individual.
Some users have complained that, initially, the app had problems in recognizing certain speech patterns, accents and expressions. However, Microsoft has promised that all bugs and errors will be fixed and features will be improved with every update and refined version.
Skype was originally released twelve years ago, on August 2003. Its simple, yet very effective design elements and features have quickly made it one of the most popular tools for long-distance communication, both personal and business-related. After several organizations acquired the rights from the Swedish developers, including eBay, Microsoft gained ownership of Skype in 2011, for $8.5 billion.
Despite Skype’s popularity and availability across several platforms, game consoles and operating systems, Microsoft has not yet announced any plans to incorporate the new Translator app for Mac, iOS or Android. For many PC users however, this brings forth promises of a new and exciting digital time when the world comes even closer together in the online medium.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia