Skype Realtime Translation Coming by End of 2014
May 28, 2014 10:56 AM
App will continue to be free for consumer use
Microsoft Corp. (
) is racing Google Inc. (
) to have the platform with the best voice translation. And it appears that at long last, the Star Trek vision for a
has almost been made a reality.
Just weeks ago, Quest Visual -- whose app "
" offer real-time translation via a smartphone camera of Spanish printed signage -- was acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum. Google said it will continue to support the standalone app for Android and its rival Apple, Inc.'s (
) iOS for now, but that ongoing development will shift to tightly-integrated, platform-exclusive features integrated into Android OS, Chrome OS, and Google's web API.
There are currently a number of apps claiming real-time voice translation on Android; virtually all of them use the Google Translate API.
On Google and Windows Phone, there's the third party "
" app that includes the feature iTranslate AirTranslate (it offers real-time translation of phone calls to a speaker of a different language).
iTranslate is well established, calling itself the "most used" iOS translation app. But it will soon have some tough competition.
this week at the inaugural
(#CodeCon) in Rancho Palo Verdes, Calif. that a beta of Skype was coming with real-time translation by the end of 2014. In a TechNet blog Microsoft
The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition. Skype Translator is a great example of why Microsoft invests in basic research. We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they’re emerging as important components in this more personal computing era.
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The company also revealed that Skype -- an integral core app in both Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 -- now has 300 million monthly active users.
acquired Skype for $8.5B USD
back in May 2011
, most felt it had goofed, overvaluing the video chat/calling service. At the time Skype had 663 million registered users, 145 million of which used the service on a monthly basis. The service only had 8.8 paying customers, who paid a monthly fee to access certain premium features.
In retrospect that valuation wasn't all that bad, given that Facebook, Inc. (
paid $19B USD for WhatsApp
, a service that boasted 450 million active monthly users last year.
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