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Don’t be lost in translation

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The recent Skype for Business announcement brought many features with it – one being the Skype Translator. CHANTAL DE MENEZES, Skype for Business Product Manager explains how this works and how it will benefit companies that need to break the language barrier.

Over the course of the last few years, various technology trends such as cloud computing, social networking, mobility, and analytics have disrupted established business models as well as industries and changed the way and speed at which people communicate and work together. Companies are working with partners and suppliers that are based overseas and competing for the wallet share of international customers.

Because of this, modern organisations are often confronted by a range of challenges that may include cultural differences. If you are not able to speak the preferred language of the person you’re doing business with, the language gap can become a serious obstacle to attaining a more fruitful relationship.

Success in business often relies on the strength of the personal relationships you have with affiliates, partners, suppliers and customers within a given country. Simply being able to greet them in their own language can be one of the easier methods of allowing for a deeper level of engagement.

Breaking down language barriers through Skype Translator

Microsoft recently announced the preview of the Skype Translator tool to assist people in communicating across language barriers. By using this tool on any Skype-enabled device, users can make free Skype Translator video or voice calls with someone who speaks another language. Translator is currently available in six languages including English, German and French.

The words that you speak into your microphone are analysed and turned into text, in a similar way to how this achieved when you ask Cortana a question within Windows 10 or Windows Phone 8.1. Next, the text is put through the Microsoft Translator engine to change it to your Skype partner’s language.

This powerful communications tool can come in handy within a range of scenarios. For instance, thanks to support being available for Mandarin, Skype Translator can be used by employees of African countries, who do a lot of business with Chinese firms.

Roadwarriors and jetsetters can use the app to translate key phrases during their overseas trips.

A PhD student can employ Skype Translator to augment his thesis research, with the assistance of experts who reside in neighbouring African countries that are Francophone (French speaking) like Côte d’Ivoire for instance.

Whatever the usage, Skype Translator will assist businesses and people communicate more effectively across language barriers.

* Chantal De Menezes, Skype for Business Product Marketing Manager

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Win Funko Fortnite in Vinyl

Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to three readers.

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A Funko Pop figurine based on a character set is indicative of reaching the heights of pop culture. It is no surprise, then, that the world’s biggest online game, Fortnite, has its own line of Funko Pop figurines. The Funkos are modeled on the characters in game, including Drift, Ragnarok, Dark Vanguard, Volar, Tracera Ops, and Sparkle Specialist.

Now, local Funko distributor Gammatek has released the Fortnite figurines in South Africa. To celebrate, Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to each of three readers. To enter, first follow Gadget and Gammatek on Twitter. Then click on your favourite Funko Pop on the next page and post the Tweet that appears.

You can put the tweet in your own words, but entries must have the competition’s hashtag (#FunkoFortnite), mention @GadgetZA and the link to this article (bit.ly/FPFortnite) to be considered valid.

Click here to see the Funko Fortnite characters and to select the one you want to tweet.

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CES: ThirdEye X2 mixed-reality glasses

The X2 mixed reality (MR) glasses, unveiled at CES last week, are the smallest mixed reality devices yet. They boast a 42-degree field of view, HD resolution, and run on the Android platform. The glasses are not connected to wires or tethered packs, and boast a built-in VisionEye Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) system for accurate environment tracking. The UI allows the user to wear it while completing tasks indoors and outdoors.

Click through to read how the software makes these glasses a reality.

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Nick Cherukuri, founder of ThirdEye, said: “The goal of the X2 was to integrate SLAM into a small glasses form factor – that is the future of making MR Glasses mass produced.”

ThirdEye has also partnered with a major manufacturer, which will enable the X2 to be shipped in mass scale, which is currently a significant hurdle for many startups.

The glasses have built-in software like the ThirdEye App Suite, which provides a full MR software platform built into the units. The App Suite includes live audio and video streaming, AR data communication between remote users in the form of a “see what I see” application, and 3D scanning capabilities.  The glasses run on Android 8.0, creating a platform for a worldwide community of developers to submit AR, VR, and MR applications to the ThirdEye App Store. 

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