Last December, Microsoft announced the first phase of the Skype Translator preview program which started with English and Spanish as the first two languages. Today, Microsoft announced that they have added support for real-time voice translations of Mandarin Chinese and Italian.
The translation is not yet perfect, according to Microsoft Research’s Olivier Fontana, but both Italian and Mandarin Chinese have reached a level of competency where the Skype Translator team is comfortable releasing the update to the tens of thousands of people currently in the invite-only program.
Skype Translator is the product which is a result of decades of research in speech recognition, automated translation, and general machine learning technologies. One of the main technology behind Skype Translator is the recent improvements in speech recognition, made possible by the introduction of deep neural networks combined with Microsoft’s proven statistical machine translation technology, allow for better translation outcomes, making meaningful one-on-one conversation possible.