This week Microsoft has announced that they have added French and German to the list of spoken languages their Skype Translator software can now interpret in real time.
These two new options join the already available English, Italian, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese spoken languages that Skype Translator can work with. There are also 50 languages that can be utilized and translated in instant messaging conversations.
While it is easy to see the benefits that having this type of capability can provide most of us there are others uses of this software that actually enable those with hearing related disabilities to gain higher levels of productivity and communications.
The blog post over on the Skype Garage and Updates site that announced these changes points out that Skype Translator not only expands our listening world but allows those who are unable to hear to benefit from these same advances.
The Microsoft research team had its own magical moment a few months ago, and it all started with one very determined Microsoft researcher, who happens to be deaf. He used the Skype Translator preview app with his wife and her spoken words were converted to text (close-caption) in near real time. He was able to respond right back to her conversation, in text, using the app’s instant messaging capabilities. Having this conversation with his wife over Skype Translator, was a life-changing, magical experience for both of them.
If you watch the video below about how this came about you will realize that there are almost always benefits beyond the software’s intended programming.