Microsoft is adding cross-language voice and text translation capabilities to its Skype platform.
In a keynote speech to Re/Code’s Code Conference in California, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella announced the translation capabilities would be included in its forthcoming Skype Translator product.
“Microsoft Research, 15 years ago, started out machine translation group, and has been working on speech translation, machine translation and speech synthesis,” Nadella said.
The company says the new technology is based around neural network-based speech recognition.
During the keynote, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Skype, Gurdeep Pall, demonstrated the real-time voice translation app during a live conversation with a German colleague.
Within a second of each line being said in German, Skype Translate read the line aloud translated into English, and vice-versa.
The tech giant promised Skype Translator will be released in beta form for Windows 8.1 later this year.