Doing business with companies abroad could soon become a lot easier and more efficient thanks to Microsoft’s new Skype Translator.

The new feature combines Skype’s voice and instant messaging technologies with Microsoft Translator and “neural nework-based speech recognition.” In a recent demonstration, the technology was able to translate English to German and vice-versa in near real-time.

"It is early days for this technology, but the Star Trek vision for a universal translator isn’t a galaxy away, and its potential is every bit as exciting as those Star Trek examples,” Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president of Skype, wrote in a blog post. “Translator opens up so many possibilities to make meaningful connections in ways you never could before in education, diplomacy, multilingual families and in business.”

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The feature was first made public yesterday at the inaugural Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Pall says Skype Translator has the potential to literally breakdown the language barrier, fostering productivity and human connection in ways that didn’t seem possible before.

Microsoft says Skype Translator will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the year’s end.

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