Microsoft and Skype may have just invented the world’s first real universal translator

Universal translator

Universal translators are a common trope in science fiction. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, they come in the form of the babelfish, a tiny crustacean you jam in your ear. In Farscape, they are bacteria injected into your body. In Star Trek, they take a less squishy form as a wand or tiny computer pinned to your lapel.

In all incarnations, though, a universal communicator is seen as alien and futuristic. But Microsoft wants to change all that. The Washington-based company has just revealed a new real-time speech translation tool that is set to be built right into Skype, and which can translate any foreign language into English in the blink of an eye.

What’s next for iPod? Catch the discussion on our newest CultCast

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This time on The CultCast: rumored new EarPods take your pulse and more; updated Macbook Airs get faster and cheaper; a leaked “iPhone 6” case indicates an iPod-inspired design; Google takes on Office with new iOS apps for Drive; we ponder the state of the iPod; and we pitch our favorite tech and apps then vote on which is best… it’s an all new Faves N Raves!

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Skype Adds HD Video Calling And Improves Text Chatting On iOS

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Today Skype updated its iPhone and iPad apps with two-way HD video calling. The enhanced resolution is only available on the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and Retina iPad mini.

Chatting over text has gotten much better with today’s release. Skype has integrated with Apple’s Notification Center to show incoming messages even when the app is closed. In the past, Skype had to still be running in the background for push notifications to work. Group chats will be receiving the same upgrade in a future update.

Source: Skype