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Star Trek Style Universal Translator Fast Approaching. Qapla'!

Ok, so I would have translated that whole title into Klingon, but my language skills suck so bad that I’m pretty sure a targ could write Klingon better than I. Anyway…how cool is it that we’re one step closer to a real universal translator? And this step…is a doozy.

Microsoft recently showed off new technology that, not only translates your spoken word into another language in real time, but also makes the voice of the translated version sound very much like the actual speaker’s voice.

Microsoft’s global head of research, Rick Rashid, demonstrated the surprisingly mature technology to a crowd of 2,000 students and teachers on Oct. 25 at the 14th annual Computing in the 21st Century Conference, held in Tianjin, China (the fourth largest city in the country).

The video of Rick, onstage, is very impressive and shows just how far the technology has come.

Standing onstage with a large screen above him, Rashid’s speech was at first rendered on the screen as English text, the words appearing as spoken with near-perfect accuracy. A “recognizability” percentile in the lower-right-hand corner indicated how identifiable Rashid’s speech patterns were, operating well above 70% for most of the presentation.

After walking through a few watershed moments in speech-recognition research, Rashid shifted to live speech translation, explaining that Microsoft’s approach to the process happens in three steps. First, the company converts spoken English word-by-word into Chinese text. Next, the words are rearranged, since the word order of a Chinese sentence is different from its English analogue. Last, the newly translated Chinese text is converted back into speech, and — here’s the really clever part — made to sound as if the original speaker were vocalizing in the translated language (you can hear this yourself, starting around the video’s 7:30 mark).

Just think about how handy this would be the next time you’re on Risa.

Check out the video:

Read the full article here.

(Source: Time Tech )

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