Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Soong says that this approach can convert between any pair of 26 languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and Italian.

Preserving a person’s voice when synthesizing speech for them in another language would likely be reassuring to a user, and could make interactions reliant on translation software more meaningful, says Shrikanth Narayanan, a professor at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, leads a research group working on systems to translate speech in situations such as doctor-patient consultations.

“The word is just one part of what a person is saying,” he says, and to truly convey all the information in a person’s speech, translation systems will need to be able to preserve voices and much more. “Preserving voice, preserving intonation, those things matter, and this project clearly knows that,” says Narayanan. “Our systems need to capture the expression a person is trying to convey, who they are, and how they’re saying it.”

His research group is investigating how features such as emphasis, intonation, and the way people use pauses or hesitation affects the effectiveness and perceived quality of a word-for-word translation. “We’re asking if you can build systems that can mediate between people as well as just replacing the words,” he says. “I view this [Microsoft research] as a part of how you make this happen.”

31 comments. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Computing, Microsoft, translation

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »