How often in a foreign country have you found yourself in a situation wherein you're unable to get your way through just because you're not adept with the local language? Or just have incessant love for different languages, then you have two Microsoft employees, Frank Soong and Rick Rashid, and their colleagues to thank for. Soong and Rashid, employees at Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond, Washington, alongwith their colleagues have prepared a version of what they refer to as a Universal Translator at the Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing, reports Daily Mail. The name fits in quite aptly to the product readied by them, because if what we're about to share holds any water, then this device can translate spoken English into 26 different languages (yes! we are keeping the best for a little later). So, essentially all that a user is required to do is speak into the device in English, and the device will then translate the text into 26 languages – from Spanish to Mandarin.
It'll talk your language! (Image credit: Getty Images)
So, here's for the best part. When a user speaks into the device, not only will it translate the text to the language of choice, it will also do so in the user's own voice. However, if Soong and Rashid are to be believed, then they still have to do some polishing on the device, since now the foreign language voice sounds a little 'mechanical'. The makers, however, are highly optimistic26 of the use of their software. Quoting Frank Soong, the report stated that, “We will be able to do quite a few scenario applications. For a monolingual speaker traveling in a foreign country, we'll do speech recognition followed by translation, followed by the final text to speech output in a different language, but still in his own voice.” A more practical use of this Universal Translator will be in assisting tourists in countries, allowing them to converse with the locals, who do not speak or understand the language they do. Further, Soong believes that language students would find this device useful, too.
However, fitting it into a smartphone by the way of a language app seems to be just the thing to look forward to.