Skype Translator Is Like Star Trek, For Real

Microsoft has unveiled the first version of a program which can translate between conversations in English and Spanish in real time.

Skype Translator has been likened to the universal translator in Star Trek - and the aim is not too dissimilar.

Microsoft wants to allow users to speak to each other in different languages without having to stop and wait for translation at the end of each sentence - either from a computer or a human interpreter.

Gurdeep Pall from Microsoft said the idea represented a "new chapter in communication".

"As we enter an era in which computing experiences need to be more personal, Skype has looked at ways to help communities create stronger connections and be more productive. Using innovations from Microsoft Research, Skype is now removing another barrier to make it possible for people to communicate irrespective of what language they speak."

It was demoed in May but now the first beta version - featuring English and Spanish - has been released for users to try.

Check out how this creative idea works, above.