Skype's Translator Like Gernsback's Language Rectifier

Skype now offers automatic language translation - live! - thanks to Microsoft's Machine Translation team.


(Skype's new translation trick, thanks to Microsoft)

Peter Lee, Microsoft Research corporate vice president, shares insights and a sneak peek into the Skype Translator, derived from decades of research in speech-recognition, automatic-translation, and machine-learning technologies. Skype Translator is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Research teams, and combines voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator along with neural-network-based speech recognition to deliver near-real-time cross-lingual communication. With the Skype Translator, we're one step closer to universal communications across language barriers, enabling people to connect in ways never before possible. In Lee's words, "It's truly magical."

In his 1911 blockbuster Ralph 124c 41 +, science fiction's own Hugo Gernsback writes about a videophone that can do automatic voice translation when needed:

"I beg your pardon, but "Central" seems to have made another mistake..." Her reply indicated that the mistake of "Central" was a little out of the ordinary, for he had been swung onto the Intercontinental Service, as he at once understood when she said, "Pardon, Monsieur, je ne comprends pas!"

He immediately turned the small shining disc of the Language Rectifier on his instrument till the pointer rested on "French."

"The service mistakes are very annoying," he heard her say in perfect English.
(Read more about Hugo Gernsback's language rectifier)

The earliest use of the Universal Translator is probably Frank Stockton's 1901 Translatophone .

Via Discovery.

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