My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Microsoft Launches Skype Translator – Star Trek Universal Translator to foster Real-Time Global Village against WhatsApp

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Microsoft Launches Skype Translator – Star Trek Universal Translator to foster Real-Time Global Village against WhatsApp

“It is early days for this technology, but the Star Trek vision for a Universal Translator isn't a galaxy away, and its potential is every bit as exciting as those Star Trek examples. Skype Translator opens up so many possibilities to make meaningful connections in ways you never could before in education, diplomacy, multilingual families and in business.”

Vice President in charge of Skype Gurdeep Singh Pall commenting on the Microsoft Blog about the potential of Skype Translator

Things just seem to be getting better and better for Microsoft.

After dropping the equivalent of a Tsar Bomba on the Apple iPad in the form of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 on Tuesday May 20th 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “Microsoft launches Surface Pro 3 - Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 puts Kibosh on Tablets with Apple having to make a larger Keyboard iPad” they’ve turned their attention to Skype.

Queue the Star Trek: Next Generation Theme Song!

This time something more in the vein of Star Trek’s Universal Translator in the form of a new Feature for Skype, dubbed Skype Translator as reported in “Microsoft readies real-time language translator for Skype”, published May 27, 2014 6:39 PM PDT by Steven Musil, CNET News.

This feature basically allows for real-time Translation of Human speech between two persons who do not speak the same language, with the translated speech being converted into text that’s read aloud to each speaker in their native tongue. You can read the official announcement on the Microsoft Technology Blog!

Good to note that this isn’t a first.

Telecom Provider NTT DoCoMo had already launched such a service on Monday October 22nd 2012 in Japan that allows for Real-time translation between on Landlines Calls, IM (Instant Messages) and SMS (Short Messaging Service) or Texts as stated in my blog article entitled “NTT DoCoMo introduces Free Real-Time Language Translation App - A Siri-esque Looper for Increased Business International Calling and Local Advertising Revenue”.

So it’s basically unique to Microsoft’s Skype VoIP Calling Service. No price as yet, but it better be competitive as WhatsApp coming with Video VoIP Calling to make International Calling Free as predicted in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp VoIP Calling in Second Quarter of 2014 - WhatsApp kills International Calling at the Advent of Facetime-eqsue Premium Video VoIP Calling on smartphones”.

Skype Translator – Star Trek Universal Translator to foster a Real-Time Global Village

Skype Translator was demonstrated on was demonstrated on Tuesday May 27th 2014 during an onstage interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Recode Code Conference in Palos Verdes, California.

During that presentation, Vice President in charge of Skype Gurdeep Singh Pall held a very detailed conversation with a German Colleague about vacation plans as stated in “ Skype to break language barriers with translator tool”, published May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1700 GMT (0100 HKT) By Doug Gross, CNN.

Skype Translator seemed very much up to the task, based on the video below, rendering the entire conversation translated in real time, even recognizing place names and names of work Colleagues at Microsoft. It’s not very spry though; it pauses to gather itself for about 2 seconds before it spews out its translation of the words spoken during the conversation.

Not sure if that lag time due to the Internet connection, the computer Skype’s running on or the Skype Server that hosts the Skype Translator Service, but you can judge for yourself.

This was indeed a great moment for Skype, which since Sunday April 28th 2014 has made Group Calling on Skype Free to counteract Google+ Hangouts as concluded in my blog article entitled “How to make a Free Group Call in Skype – Google+ officially a Ghost Town Again as Microsoft gears up for WhatsApp free VoIP Calling in June 2014”.

Skype Translator will soon be available as a Windows 8 App by December 2014 for their nearly 300 million monthly users globally, albeit it’s not known if it will be a free feature or it will come at a price as noted in “Skype to get 'real-time' translator”, published 28 May 2014 Last updated at 05:23 GMT, BBC News.

Not sure when it’ll trickle down to Skype App on smartphones or Tablets or if it’ll remain, for now, a Windows Phone Mobile experience, being as it’s the next closest Mobile OS to Windows 8 for Desktop. By then the idea of the World becoming one Global Village may have begun to sink in, as other competitors may soon becoming with their version of a Universal Translator, Star Trek Style!

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