Skype Translator, a recently-unveiled rival to Google Translate that promises to inform the future of automatic translation, is shaking the ground on which Google’s similar service once proudly stood. According to Time, Microsoft’s development of Skype Translator may be the closest yet to mimicking an actual translator, and outperforms its Google-owned competitor in clarity.
In January, the Verge reported on Google Translate’s newest features, which included real-time translation of signs and conversations. A game-changing update for the app, the addition of real-time and voice-specific translation piqued the interest of world travelers everywhere and added another dimension to the app’s usefulness.
However, Skype Translator’s raving reviews seem to indicate Google Translate is up against strong competition. Until recent updates, Google Translate had fallen short in multiple areas, such as accuracy of translated text, ability to interpret languages with different characters (like Japanese), and reliability in environments with limited internet connectivity.
While Skype’s interpretation service isn’t perfect, either, Microsoft’s version is built on years of neural research and linguistic expertise. Designed to improve translation accuracy over time, initial encounters with the service are not perfect. Still in its infancy, Skype Translator will continue to improve recognition and interpretation of idioms, slang, and proper names as the program builds a language database from casual conversation.
However, because Microsoft invested time in research and sourcing the best talent to make Skype Translator a reality, the overall outcome has been impressive thus far. As noted in Time’s report, individuals responsible for the development of Microsoft’s virtual personal assistant, standalone translation app, and Word’s grammar rules contributed to the creation of Skype Translator.
As the Inquisitr noted, Google Translate has additional perks not yet available in Skype, like quick currency and measurements conversions, which appeals to many who spend time traveling abroad. For now, though, researchers at Microsoft aren’t concerned with adding extra features; they intend on creating a seamless real-time translation service – and offering it for free.
“There are things you don’t have an explanation for why it works,” said long-time Microsoft researcher Chris Wendt.
Currently, Google Translate is more accessible to users than Skype Translator, which gives Google a huge advantage in the race to best translation app. Available for Android and iOS, Google’s translation tool remains the popular choice for on-the-go interpretation of foreign languages. However, Microsoft is leveling the playing field with Skype Translator as it inches towards the title of universal communicator.