Sci-fi tech is no longer fictional. Microsoft is bringing Star Trek's universal translator to life with Skype Translator, a feature that enables cross-lingual conversations in real time.
The tech was demoed for the first time publicly at the Code Conference and showed an audio and written translation from spoken English to German and visa versa. Grandmothers will be able to speak with first-generation grandchildren in their native language, and students will be able to connect with their international peers overseas. This Skype wizardry will be available on Windows 8 by the end of 2014 as a limited beta.
The Microsoft Research team is still working to write algorithms that can identify nuances in languages and where spoken sentences start and end. Figuring out the differences between the way people talk and write is also very important for translating spoken conversation. If the team is successful, it may be the world's first real-time universal translator. Skype Translator would break actual language barriers. Scroll down to watch the new technology in action. Ciao!