Launching on Windows 8 before the end of 2014, Microsoft is currently developing a language translation feature within Skype that will automatically translate your language into the preferred language of the person on the other end of the Skype call.
Occurring in real-time, the Skype Translator demo that Microsoft showed off today featured a call that converted English into German and vica-versa in order to communicate a project alteration for two remote co-workers.
Assuming the new Skype Translator feature works as advertised, language barriers could be less of an issue going forward, assuming Skype in being used as a common communication platform.
According to the demonstration, this feature was developed by the teams that work on Skype, Microsoft’s Research Lab and Bing. Interestingly, it’s an offshoot of the same technology that’s currently being used to power Cortana, Microsoft’s personal voice assistant on Windows Phone 8.1 devices.
Microsoft has yet to confirm which languages will be supported for the launch later this year, but it’s likely both English and German will be at the top of the list.
During the presentation, Microsoft alluded to the fact that this technology was somewhat similar to the fictional universal translator made popular within the Star Trek series. Of course, Microsoft isn’t the first company to launch a language translation product. Last year, a team in San Francisco launched an Indiegogo project for a mobile translation product called SIGMO.
However, that product has yet to launch, despite raising nearly a quarter of a million in funding. Of course, this is typical of many crowdfunded projects as product inventors often don’t have a firm grasp on the multitude of issues that can occur when attempting to manufacture a product domestically or overseas.