Microsoft Has Shattered The Language Barrier

By: Zach Walton - November 8, 2012

The language barrier is an insurmountable wall for many people. Those of us who have spent three years in high school Spanish and came away with nothing can attest to that. That’s why so many of us have put faith into translation programs like BabelFish and Google Translate. Microsoft now takes it a step further with instant speech recognition and translation.

Microsoft Research shared a video on their YouTube channel today that demonstrates the new technology. Here’s what you’re going to see below:

Chief Research Officer Rick Rashid demonstrates a speech recognition breakthrough via machine translation that converts his spoken English words into computer-generated Chinese language. The breakthrough is patterned after deep neural networks and significantly reduces errors in spoken as well as written translation.

I can’t vouch for how accurate the Chinese translation is, but it’s already incredibly impressive. The software is able to output the spoken Chinese word in the speaker’s voice as if they were the one saying it.

I think it’s safe to say that Microsoft has shattered the language barrier. Language translation software is only going to get better in the future, and we may soon have those futurist gadget that instantly translates anything a person says in the listener’s native tongue.

Zach Walton

About the Author

Zach WaltonZach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology. Follow him on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Google+ +Zach Walton

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  • L.W.

    If you “can’t vouch for how accurate the Chinese translation is”, then nothing has been “shattered”.
    I’ll keep my day job, which by the way, is translator.

    • champacs

      Totally agree!

    • chugg

      Sounds like someone is a little butt hurt. Don’t worry I’m sure you’ll be able to find a new job at mcdonalds,they always need translators?

  • John Hayes

    I could never understand how my wife and mother could return from shopping and talk about the good deals they got when they didn’t take their glasses and had no idea of the prices they actually paid. I will wait until the quality of the product is evaluated to decide.

  • Robert Scorsee

    I’m willing to give props to Microsoft when they are due, but the headline of this article is misleading at best. Google’s Translate app has been able to take voice input and read the output in another language for quite a while now.

    The automatic transcribing was, as the speaker mentioned, riddled with errors, so that’s the first problem. An inaccurate transcript already means an meaningless translation. Also, Google uses crowd-sourced translating techniques to try to better understand context and translates phrases and sentences rather than just word by word, resulting in a more natural and accurate translation. And the ‘imitating my own voice’ thing is gimmicky and unpractical. It took an hour of his voice to analyze, and it still sounds like a robotic machine voice. I didn’t think it sounded like him at all. This is hardly ‘shattering the language barrier’.