Skype users will soon be able to conduct voice and video calls supported by a near-real time translation technology – which is being advertised as being similar to the universal translator in Star Trek or the Babelfish in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Gurdeep Pall, Corporate VP, Skype claimed that the idea that people don't understand each other, is going to be a thing of the past.
"In the same way it's hard to imagine a world before you were able to travel to different places and quickly, whether it be in a car or a plane, we'll never think about, wow, those were the dark ages where people couldn't understand each other. That's where we're headed."
Dubbed Skype Translator, the add-on builds on the research done for Microsoft Translator, and uses a technology called Deep Neural Networks, which yields significantly better speech recognition results than previous methods.
It will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of the year, but Microsoft is already showing off its English to German functionality.
If you have ever used Google Translate, you will be aware of the limits of such a system, but it is a start.