The shocking announcement

Not so long ago Microsoft has made a fantastic display of Skype Translator (or so they are calling it for now) functional on the Code Conference. It was an actual live real-time translator you may use while calling anybody your heart desires. It is actually as close to the Universal Translator from Star Track as it gets. What was shown on the demo are two people talking in English from one side and in German from the other. And Skype was translating all that in real time as the astonished audience was watching everything without even a breath. The words of the conversations participants were displayed as text on their screens and were supported with a playback from a voice generator that was allowing them not only to read while the video call but also to hear everything their vis-à-vis had to say in their home language. Skype was actually speaking both German and English that day.  That actually looked quite fantastic, I’d have to mention.

Behind the fog of mystery

Recently the society was given some extra details on how everything was working. Microsoft did come up with a solution close to brilliance. They were using Social Networks in their research. And the efforts are paying off.

As you all’ve guessed the hardest part is the spoken language that is full of words like ‘eh’ or ‘duh’ that give the speaker a second to get clear with his thoughts and focus on what he is trying to say. Plus the pronunciation of words may be different from one person to another. Plus the intonations that are marking questions or exclamations. That is one severe brain-buster.

Thus MS have started from feeding their software with books and appropriate literature. Then there was a well fed engine that was designed to be tearing sentences into small phrases. That’s where the software was looking for the meaning of what was spoken. Thus the neural network (the part of the software responsible for learning) became advancing in a rapid way. Yet more work needed to be done, of course. That’s when MS’s specialists turned to social networks. The unique word structure used by people there is as close as it gets to how people are communicating in real life. That knowledge tops all the textbooks. So we are looking forward to easy communication from now on and further