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Microsoft's Universal Translator turns spoken English into 26 languages

Computer giant Microsoft has reportedly created a software dubbed the " Universal Translator" that can convert English language spoken to it into 26 different languages.

Frank Soong and Rick Rashid -- from the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington -created the software which can also speak in the user's own voice, the Daily Mail reported.

The scientists hope that the software will one day allow visitors to foreign countries have conversations with other people, even though they do not speak the same language.

Soong said his breakthrough could help language students and might also work with navigational devices.

Hypothetically, it could be installed into a smart phone meaning tourists have a ready made translation device sitting in their pockets.

"We will be able to do quite a few scenario applications. For a monolingual speaker travelling in a foreign country, we'll do speech recognition followed by translation, followed by the final text to speech output in a different language, but still in his own voice," Soong said.

Soong and Rashid created the software with colleagues at the Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing, the company's second-largest research lab.

The device needs around one hour to get used to a person's voice, and then works by comparing the words that have been recorded with stock models for the target language

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