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I went on the world's worst speed date to show you how not to use Skype Translator

Mark Hachman | March 9, 2016
Like you would have come up with something better than "So have you ever played ice hockey?"

Or you can, I suppose, but when Skype begins translating what you’ve said for the other party, you tend to politely shut up after a few words. And then Skype thinks that you’re actually saying something else, and then you can see that translation take place in real time, and then you say something else to clarify things, and then you finally just clamp your lips together because this poor woman clearly is not being paid enough to sit through your blather.

Basically, Skype Translator works best when you pretend you’re Barack Obama delivering the State of the Union address, rather than trying to explain to a highway patrol officer why you're carrying a priest, a sheep, a length of rubber hose, and a canister of ether in the back of your vehicle.

I will note for the record that I carried on a perfectly sociable conversation with a Microsoft PR person about Lent and sushi burritos. My Skype Translator conversation with poor Dalia, on the other hand...

*Editor’s Note: Given the technical difficulties above, I’m not sure if I spelled Dalia’s name correctly. If I didn’t, let’s consider it an alias so this doesn’t haunt her for the rest of her professional career.

 

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