The way we communicate with one another is one of the standout attributes of human beings. But we take for granted how easy it is to speak clearly with our friends, loved ones, and colleagues on a daily basis. The same isn’t always true when we meet those from far away, and a difficult language barrier is presented to us.
For years, people have been using technology to overcome language differences, relying on digital dictionaries to online text translators to translate written text. Today, Microsoft is using machine translation technology, powered by the cloud, to break through the biggest language barrier of all: in-person, real-time conversation. From travelling abroad, to helping non-English speakers settle in a new country, the potential for the technology is vast.
For James Simmonds-Read in particular, such technology is life-changing. James works at The Children’s Society in London with migrants and refugees, mostly young men who are victims of human trafficking. Recently, The Children’s Society decided to adopt Microsoft Translator, using new features to deliver live, in-person speech translation via smartphones, tablets, and computers.
The technology has revolutionised how the charity communicated with the young men in their care. “They are all asylum seekers and a large number of them have issues around language,” James said. “Very frequently, we need to use translators.” Using translators had its own challenges, especially as it meant the young men had to disclose sensitive information to third-parties outside the charity. But now, with Microsoft Translator, James can communicate directly with the young men without involving third parties.
You can find out more about Microsoft’s translation technology, how it works and more about its applications, here.