Great New Translation Tools with @Skype
One of the most interesting additions to Microsoft software that I’ve seen in a while was demoed a few weeks ago at Re/code’s Code Conference. Gurdeep Singh Pall, Microsoft VP, and Diana Heinrichs, Microsoft employee, demoed a pre-beta version of their new translation feature, Skype Translator.
Until now, smaller app features from companies like Microsoft and Google have allowed for speech-based translations in multiple languages, but these apps did not cater as strongly to whole conversations. Instead, they more or less divided up conversations into parts — smaller sized portions to translate.
With the exception of watching Xbox Live for the first time, I can’t remember when Microsoft impressed me so! As you witnessed in the demo video, Skype Translate translated the live conversation between Singh Pall (speaking English) and Heinrichs (speaking German) in real time, with only a short delay after every few sentences. This translation feature is, by far, the fastest voice-translation app I’ve seen on the market.
There is a huge impact this feature could have on the support industry. Metaverse Mod Squad has a pool of 5000 or so mods from all over the world. A large portion of the team is bilingual, or remote in another country where English is a secondary (or tertiary) language. As a project manager, I often have to jump into situations with my global staff and participate in non-English conversations. Since we’re a large company, with a lot of talent in our midst, we often leverage our bilingual teammates, and quickly conquer any language barrier to provide the best support for our client. Not all companies are as lucky as we are! There are a lot of companies who do not have a diverse, multi-lingual staff to support global customers. I’ve worked on plenty of moderation or customer support projects where, even though the company’s primary language is English, we will still come across customers or community members who are not fluent. As mods, we are geared to provide the best support to everyone, and must access additional translation support tools if bilingual support is not readily available.
In the context of a global community, Skype Translate has the potential to better facilitate the building of relationships between diverse people and cultures. For example, I am a competitive multiplayer gamer and within the gaming platforms I have the opportunity to engage with really great players from around the globe, who may not speak the same language. Regardless of the barrier, we still team up and play with simple call outs and short sentences, or without speaking at all, thus relying on skill to carry our team through. I can see Skype Translate bridging that language barrier, if paired with Microsoft’s Xbox One, or via the Skype interface paired with online gaming.
The potential to build new connections and friendships and partnerships is refreshing, and exciting. Keep an eye out for the feature when it goes live! And if you need more help on localizations, translations, or building global staff — please do not hesitate to reach out to us! That’s what we’re here for….