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Microsoft Translator can now give you real-time translation of any language

By Marcus Wong - on 15 Dec 2016, 11:58am

Microsoft Translator can now give you real-time translation of any language

The latest updates to the Microsoft Translator app now allows you to have real-time conversations with up to 100 speakers using their own smartphone, tablet or PC. It works much like how Skype’s real-time translator offers real-time translations for speech and instant messaging, using machine translation to facilitate conversation.

How it works is as follows:

  • To get started, you sign on to the service via the app or website, pick your language and initiate a new conversation. This generates a code and a QR code that the people use to join the conversation, setting their own language at the same time.
  • From there, conversation happens.
  • Press the keyboard space bar or on-screen button and talk (as you would a walkie-talkie). In seconds, translated text of what you said will appear on the screen of the other participants’ devices – in their native languages. For some languages, audible translation is also available.

Microsoft Translate works on practically all connected devices.

The technology isn’t perfect yet, but its developers expect to improve greatly over time because the technique is based on neural networks. These model the meaning of each word as within the context of the entire sentence in a 1,000-dimensional vector before translation begins, so it’s translating entire sentences instead of individual words.

As with all neural networks, the quality of translations will improve the more the service is used, so the technology is certainly promising. As with most mobile apps these days, you will need to be connected to the internet for the service to work, but it’s certainly something that could come in handy for your next holiday. A real life Babel fish perhaps?

The Microsoft Translator live preview feature is available now in the Microsoft Translator apps for Windows, Android, iOS and Amazon Fire for free. It is also available online at http://translator.microsoft.com or http://translate.it.

Source: Microsoft Blog

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