Microsoft has announced a new update for its Translator app which allows the app to translate live conversations in real time. This works by enabling the app to listen to the conversation or things that are spoken nearby the device during in-person conversations. The translation is simple as the translated conversation is shown as text on the device for most languages. However, some languages have support for spoken translations as well, where the app will read out the translated conversation.
This feature as reported by VentureBeat does not automatically detect the language being spoken. Instead, one needs to open the app and select their language which gives a corresponding code or QR Code for other people to enter or scan using their Microsoft Translator app. The functioning of the app, as described in the Microsoft blog post is very much like a digital Walkie-Talkie where you press the keyboard spacebar or on-screen button in Walkie-Talkie-like fashion while talking. The translation happens in real-time as the translated text appears on other participants device in their selected languages.
The app is available across devices ranging from Android, iOS, Amazon, Windows and as a website ensuring a broad support without being locked down to a particular device. The technology was developed by the machine translation group at Microsoft Research labs. This comes right after a recent Skype update which offers real-time translation on calls to mobile phones or landlines. The only prerequisite for the technology is that the users need to be signed into Windows Insider Program, have latest Skype beta app and paid Skype Credit as outlined by The Verge. The translation works like the one introduced in regular Skype calls.
The translation is simple as you toggle the ‘Translate’ mark on before calling the person and then select the languages. Skype will play a message to the caller on the other side notifying them that the call is being recorded and translated and then rest of the call comes with short delays as the conversation is being translated. Skype Translator works in nine spoken languages ranging from English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Portuguese (Brazilian).
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