While they have only just released their much-anticipated tablet/laptop hybrid product (Microsoft Surface), Microsoft are already showing off their latest potential technological development, with a ‘spoken translator’ with higher accuracy than ever before potentially overtaking the new Xbox as the company’s most prominent current project.
Working with researchers at the University of Toronto (Canada), and applying a technology that is based on ‘neural networks of the human brain’ following a breakthrough two years ago, Microsoft claim that their system is 30% more accurate than their previous efforts at similar technologies.
Further estimates from the company claim that by maintaining ‘intonation and candence’ to mimic the original speaker’s voice in the appropriate language ‘almost instantly’ demonstrated at the official reveal by adding a Chinese translation to an English speech.
While potential uses and commercial options could be endless for such a piece of technology, Microsoft are yet to confirm any sales plans for the fruits of their research, which they claim gives an incorrect recognition of ‘one word in seven or eight’, as opposed to the industry average of one fifth of words.
However, they could have the end intention of releasing their translator as an effective product, as Microsoft Research’s Rick Rashid stated: “We hope in a few years that we’ll be able to break down the language barrier between people. Of course, there are still likely to be errors in both the English text and the translation into Chinese, and the results can sometimes be humorous. Still, the technology has developed to be quite useful.”
A video of the technology in action can be seen below: