Hands-on with Microsoft's translating telephone

C|Net | at | by Mike

One of the hits at this year's TechFest in Redmond was the so-called translating telephone.

The effort combines speech recognition, machine translation, and text-to-speech technology to let two people who don't share a common language nonetheless carry on a phone conversation. As part of a regional TechFair at Microsoft's Silicon Valley offices on Thursday, I got a chance to try out the technology, conversing with Frank Seide, one of the researchers behind the project.

I asked a few questions in English, while Seide answered in German. As one can see from the video below, it's far from perfect, but even being able to get the gist of what someone is saying without sharing a common language is pretty cool.