Microsoft Research working on real-time phone conversation translation

Microsoft Research has been working hard on a project that allows users to translate conversations in almost real-time.  The software is designed to translate an actual phone conversation, providing a translation for both users, in this test scenario - German to English.

The Microsoft Research workers showed off the project during their annual TechFest event, demonstrating a phone call between two Microsoft employees, translating German to English. TechFlash spotted the project, still in very early development, and as Microsoft admits, not exactly perfect.

The project is still months, maybe years away from any public release, but the potential to have real-time translation in the near future is very real.  The project still shows a sluggish response time, for the necessary time needed to translate and relay the message in English.

In February, Google revealed it is working on real-time phone conversation translation too. Google is expected to build the technology into the Android platform and Google's head of translation, Franz Och, believes that the technology will "work reasonably well in a few years' time." Google has also been working hard on showing off prototypes that can translate dinner menus into English.

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21 Comments

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Wow, simply amazing regardless who's doing it. Im pretty sure MS has been working on this for quite some time so no need for the trollers. With time i can see this being more real time with out so much lag.

Everything in Microsoft's future 2019 video was either being worked on or existed in prototype, so this does not surprise me.

ObiWanToby said,
Everything in Microsoft's future 2019 video was either being worked on or existed in prototype, so this does not surprise me.

+1 I didn't see Google or Apple make one. I've found that most of the technology that Microsoft announces usually are in working mode, they don't announce something unless they are confident that it will work.

Billus said,
they don't announce something unless they are confident that it will work.
WinFS is a fine example. :D

Edited by JamesWeb, Mar 2 2010, 3:14am :

JamesWeb said,
WinFS is a fine example. :D

Please don't use WinFS as a failed MS technology. If you want to get a clue look up Ed Botts article on what happened with the technology.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Ed+Bott+WinFS&l=1

Edited by mikefarinha, Mar 2 2010, 4:23am :

chadlachlanross said,
Hopefully it works better than Google's translations. lol Some of them are quite comical for my voice mails.

Did you actually read the article? Google's Voice to Text has nothing to do with Language translation, or this article.

It's just amazing how MS must do everything Google does. There's no creative leadership at MS, that's why MS is incapable of innovation.

toadeater said,
It's just amazing how MS must do everything Google does. There's no creative leadership at MS, that's why MS is incapable of innovation.

They are showing this to the public now, a month after Google, but do you actually think they started this project after they saw news about Google doing it a month earlier?

Seriously...

toadeater said,
It's just amazing how MS must do everything Google does. There's no creative leadership at MS, that's why MS is incapable of innovation.
Jeez, isn't the bandwagon full already?

toadeater said,
It's just amazing how MS must do everything Google does. There's no creative leadership at MS, that's why MS is incapable of innovation.

yeah, it was so easy to code this application that it took MS only 1 month to develop it. So, it cant be that innovative...just being sarcastic...
Just because google announced it a month ago does not mean they were the first to think about it. Drop your fanboy hat and use your grey cells instead. These type of projects take a very long time to develop.

Besides, google did not even demonstrate an application. They just said it might be possible in the next couple of years

Edited by zagor, Mar 2 2010, 12:50am :

toadeater said,
It's just amazing how MS must do everything Google does. There's no creative leadership at MS, that's why MS is incapable of innovation.

Do you honestly think Microsoft made all of that in one month? The reason that Google, Microsoft, and Apple work in similar product areas is because they all analyze where the tech industry is going, and they all know what it will be like.

toadeater said,
It's just amazing how MS must do everything Google does. There's no creative leadership at MS, that's why MS is incapable of innovation.

I know for a fact, having been involved, that Microsoft was working on this over 10 years ago, and was a part of their entire Speech regcognition technologies that go back even further - BEFORE GOOGLE EVEN EXISTED.

Even Google's own Voice work has credits that point back to MS Research from the 90s, get a clue.

toadeater said,
It's just amazing how MS must do everything Google does. There's no creative leadership at MS, that's why MS is incapable of innovation.

I really don't need to say anything... you have already been ripped to shreds.

SQ1 said,
Star Trek guys do that for ages!!!

LuLz! +1

And a little late on the draw, MS. This feels way too much like a "me too!". They'd be better off going the bing route with "BAM, look at what we did!" since they can't be the first to say "look what we're working on!".

Oh well.