Skype Translator has Tourette’s

translate21While it might be heralded as a replacement for translators, Microsoft’s Skype Translator has a tendency to swear.

To be fair, when we do translations we have the same tendency. Then we are only human and people use the word paradigm far too much. It’s an old idea. It’s called barmicide.

Microsoft launched Skype Translator to provide real time voice and text translations. It launched with Chinese and Italian language support and promised more languages later.

According to the Chinese Global Times normal conversations are being translated in Skype with a four letter word added.

What Microsoft researchers did not realise was the Great Firewall obstructs Skype from working consistently and it reads the missing bits as words.

One Chinese researcher discovered one line had changed from ‘It’s nice to talk to you’ was translated as ‘It’s f*cking nice to f*ck you.’ As translations go, it is blunt and direct but probably should never be said on the first date, a board meeting or in a financial statement.

Microsoft’s Italian version is not bad if you speak Roman Italian. Some Italian dialects are too much for the poor software, but then they are too much for Italians too.

To be fair to Microsoft, as I always am, none of the translation services on Bing or Google work with any degree of certainty. Translators, we know,  use them to save time working out the general sense of a sentence.

All translation software is a long way from replacing translators.