Star Trek

It’s been three years since Microsoft acquired Skype for a staggering $8.5 billion, but the investment didn’t end there. Microsoft isn’t just pushing Skype as the text, voice, and video communication service to use, it has set its sights on emulating Star Trek.

Yesterday at the Code Conference in California, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Skype corporate vice president Gurdeep Pall, introduced Skype Translator. It’s the first time that this new feature has been demonstrated publicly, and involved a Skype conversation between Pall speaking English in California and Diana Heinrichs speaking German in London.

As you can see from the video below, the conversation happens in near real-time with each person’s voice translated for the receiver’s preferred language. I’ve seen comments stating the translations happening here were only passable at best, but the fact this conversation flows at all is impressive.

Microsoft’s goal of transforming Skype into Star Trek’s Universal Translator would be more laudable if it didn’t make No Such Agency’s job that much easier….
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