November 8, 2012

Microsoft’s English to Chinese Speech Translation in Real-time, Amazing!

Microsoft’s English to Chinese speech translation in real-time.

Amazing demo by Rick Rashid of Microsoft (video below).

The demo is doing the following:
  • Automated Speech Recognition: English speech -> English text
  • English to Chinese text translation
  • Text to Speech: Chinese text -> Chinese speech

Also, awesome text to speech quality - the spoken Chinese sounds natural, human.

It far surpasses Apple Siri or Google Voice.

There will be enormous usage of such a technology when it is perfected and available for daily use. Keep in mind though – all three steps listed above have formidable hurdles to cross for real-world usage.

Automated Speech Recognition - All speech recognition technologies (over the last 20+ years) have failed to deliver in real-world conditions across people and ambient conditions.

Text to Speech - It is not practical to train the speech system for hours per person such that it can speak so naturally.

Automated Language Translation, even in text form, is an incredibly error-prone technology e.g. try Google Translate. That is why human translation services such as Smartling or MyGengo continue to flourish.

Some day these hurdles will be crossed.  When?

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