Imagine a scenario in which you have to speak in a language that you can’t speak. It has to be a speech that you have to deliver online, via skype. What do you do? Well, according to a translation program that Microsoft is working on, all you will need is to practice for an hour with the program it is working on and your ‘voice’ will be able to speak in multiple languages.
So hows does this work? Well, first of all, you require a training of about an hour with the system. This helps the system discern the nuances of your voice and see how you sound like in different scenarios and when expressing different sentiments. The computer keeps track of all this data. Once the training is over and the system knows how you sound like, all you have to do is input a written text to the system. The system uses text-to-speech to convert that text into speech but into that of a different language.
And what is most interesting about this program is that you don’t get to listen to the regular computer voice as speech output. Rather, it’s your own sound that is ‘taught’ by the system to output that text in a foreign language! This means that the computer teaches your ‘voice’ to speak in multiple languages. According to Microsoft, the system can currently translate 26 languages which include English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Although for now, it’s more of a text-to-speech tool, Microsoft researchers are working further to add speech recognition capabilities to this program.
Image courtesy Amit.