June 6, 2014

Skype gets a “Star Trek” real-time translator

Written By Gishan Don Ranasinghe


At the annual code conference, Microsoft introduced and demonstrated their new Real-Time Translator. The main difference of this real-time translator is that it does not using any other physical device. You can just use Skype as before and you can just talk in your language to a person how is using another language. And that person will hear the translated speech of yours vice versa. This means that, there can be a direct conversation between a Chinese person and a English person by both of them using their own languages.

Singh Pall the Microsoft VP, demonstrated a conversation between him and a German lady Diana by using new real time translator integrated Skype. When Singh finishes his conversation in English, the translator talked to Diana, in German, without any delays. Then Diana talked back. Then the translator translated German to English and talked to Singh.

Microsoft claims, the translator can learn it self when the amount of conversations it experiences are increasing. This means that it is using a system which can learn it self is made with a Artificial Neural Network. These are the computational models inspired by a human’s or an animal’s central nervous system, particularly the brain. These artificial neural networks can perform machine learning as well as pattern recognition. These systems can be represented as systems of interconnected neurons which can compute values from inputs. For example a neural system can be used to train a system to recognise hand writing by inputing a set of neurons which may be activated by the pixel of an input image. The activations of these neurons are then passed on, weighted and transformed by a function determined by the system designers, to other neurons. This same same as human knowledge passing from one generation to another. This process is repeated until finally, an output neuron is activated. And this output will determine the character in the input image.

Since Microsoft foreseen the advantages of these neural systems, the Skype translator is more than a translator. As it can perform the artificial self learning mechanisms, it will be able to translate languages more accurately and will be able to learn new languages faster .