Microsoft reveals translating phone that works in almost-real-time

Not only will the next version of Microsoft Exchange transcribe telephone calls, it’ll go one step further: Microsoft is also trying to translate telephone calls in real time. You’re speaking English, she’s speaking Russian — but you can both understand each other! HOW COOL IS THAT?

It was only a matter of time, of course — and Google’s also working on the same tech — but still, watch the video and tell me you’re not impressed. I experienced a similar sensation to when I saw the real-time translation in the Google Wave tech demo — it’s that kind of tingling… that prickling sensation, where the words that articulate your thoughts are just out of reach, on the tip of your tongue.

Just imagine the possibilities when real-time language translation becomes a reality. It’s not far off; a year, maybe two. It’s simply a matter of processing power, nothing more. I’m thinking of the universal translators that appear in Star Trek and Dr Who. Imagine travelling anywhere in the world, or the universe, and being able to understand what’s being said. Obviously it wouldn’t be as large as a phone — perhaps an earpiece, or sub-cranial implant… hmm…

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