Microsoft Develops Universal Translator Technology

Many of Star Trek’s technologies once seemed like far-fetched plot devices with only a faint basis in reality. Today, many of these imagined devices — like communicators, padds, and even tricorders — have proven Star Trek’s ability to predict and inspire the future of technology.

The Universal Translator was the ultimate plot device. Darmok and a few other exceptions aside, the device enabled Starfleet crews to speak directly with anyone they met, fluently and in a language TV audiences could understand.

Now, Universal Translator technology has entered reality. Microsoft has unveiled Skype Translator, a real-time translation program for video chat. This adaptation of text-based translation programs builds on decades of research and practice to include new video technology.

How long until someone programs it to understand Klingon?

Read more and watch a video demonstration of real-time translation here.

Learn more about video and text translation technologies here.