It’s been the white whale of the tech world for years. Call it the Babel fish, the Star Trek Universal Translator or whatever you like; many a developer has tried and failed to produce a workable, practical translator for commercial use.
Microsoft announced last week that their latest incarnation of language software could mark the beginning of the first successful foray into the tricky realm of voice translation software.
The software currently only translates English into Mandarin Chinese, and is still in early development. Microsoft chief research officer, Rick Rashid, stared in a video released on his blog that demonstrates the current capabilities of the software. Speaking in English, Rashid showed how the software learns a person’s vocal style and is therefore able to understand the intention of their language before selecting the most appropriate Chinese words and reordering them into grammatically correct speech.
UK gadget company, Money4Machines, said it’s clearly early days but the video of Rashid certainly appears to impress his Chinese-speaking audience.
"The video is really impressive, and although Rashid makes a point of saying the software still needs a lot of work, we’re still really excited about the prospects of the software.
We buy UK gadgets and help people access our UK sell for cash London to Lands End service, but the appeal of something like a reliable commercial translator could have a big impact on how small businesses like our trade overseas too. Imagine if you could have a video conversation with a client looking to sell mobile phones in China or India in both native tongues – the possibilities are just boundless for global trade."
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