Are we getting closer to having a real universal translator?

Skype and Google are each coming out with consumer products that promise simultaneous language translation. Roland Kuhn weighs in on the future of machine translation and speech recognition.
Google Translate's new conversation mode.

From Star Trek's universal translator to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's Babel Fish, sci-fi has long given us a glimpse into possible futures where everyone can understand each other with the help of technology. Now, both Skype and Google are each coming out with consumer products that promise simultaneous language translation. We ask Roland Kuhn, the Statistical Machine Translation lead at the National Research Council Canada, to weigh in on the future of machine translation and speech recognition.

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