Thanks to Microsoft the universal translator which featured in the popular sci-fi serial Star Trek may now be closer to reality. The device is powered by a software that renders spoken English into 26 different languages and which 'speaks' in the user's own voice.
Though seen used mostly by James T Kirk to speak to aliens and blue women from space in the serial, Microsoft is about to bring the real thing a working Universal Translator, capable of translating into languages from Spanish to Mandarin.
The research team including Frank Soong, the software's creator, and Rick Rashid Microsoft's, chief research officer, hope the device would one day be able to bridge the communication gap for people visiting foreign countries allowing them to have conversations with native speakers of different languages, even though they may not speak the same language, a la Star Trek.
According to Soong who spoke to Technology Review, the breakthrough could help language students and might also work with navigational devices.
It may be possible at a future date to install the software in a smart phone to let tourists have a translator in their pockets.
The software translates spoken words into another language even as it preserves the accent, timbre, and intonation of your actual voice.