Let’s face it, unless you’ve learned another language growing up, learning a second language can be pretty difficult later in life. Thankfully the nimble minds at Microsoft know this and are currently underway developing software that would learn the sound of your voice, and translate it into another language.
According to a recent article in MIT’s Technology Review, Microsoft researchers are plugging away at new speech recognition technology that could one day allow travelers the ability to communicate in other languages they don’t speak fluently. Additionally, the software is being designed to help language tutoring software more user friendly.
So how does it work? According to the team’s research the program would operate in three steps: first the program would begin by recognizing your speech in whatever language you spoke in, second it would translate this speech, and finally, once translated, output the speech into another language. The program would even be able to retain your voice – meaning you wouldn’t sound like a traveling automaton.
According to Microsoft researchers the program is said to require about an hour of training, which when compared to the months, even years, it takes to master a language the traditional way is practically nothing. We imagine a program like this would have wide-ranging applications, least of which would make it easier to communicate among languages as well as begin to remove some of the existing language barriers through the use of advanced technology.
Currently, the program is able to convert between a total of 26 different languages including Spanish, Italian, English, and Mandarin Chinese. No word yet, though on when this technology will be available to consumers, but we imagine it will be later rather than sooner. Voice recognition programs can be pretty tricky – we all know how well Siri understands what we say – so although this will certainly prove revolutionary, we wont be throwing away our Rosetta Stone DVDs just yet.
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