Want a job at Microsoft? Well, you’d better break out the Next Generation DVDs, because apparently being a Trekkie is an asset. Microsoft is already working on a holodeck, but that’s not the only Trek staple they’re striving to make a reality — they also have a universal translator in the works.
Microsoft engineers have created a software program that can analyse your voice, translate what you’re saying, then replicate your voice in another language. It works with 26 different languages, so in theory you could have a computer-generated voice that sounds very much like yours reading a speech in French, Italian or Mandarin.
There are still some kinks to work out — it takes around an hour for the program to get a sense of your voice, and even then it will sound kind of robot-ey in any language but English. Nevertheless I’m still anticipating a future where I don’t have to learn any new languages — frankly I’m not that great at this English one to begin with.
Random nerdy Trek-related observation — a guy named Frank Soong developed Microsoft’s universal translator. The fictional doctor that created Data from Next Generation was named Noonien Soong. Suddenly all this Trek tech coming out of Microsoft makes sense.