Could Skype be the universal translator we’ve been waiting for? Yesterday at the inaugural Code Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes CA, Microsoft revealed its plan to introduce real-time language translation on its popular video conferencing platform later this year.

At the conference, Microsoft demoed Skype Translator with a real-time translation of an audio conversation from English to German and German to English. If successfu,l this would open up communication without the need for years of language training and would a boon for global productivity.

“Skype is a very global product – it’s all about connecting people that are separated by distance,one of the biggest barriers that still remains is really the language barrier.” Pall said in conference.

The software relies on work by Microsoft’s research arm, as well as the Bing search unit, which has its own translation product for Web pages and Internet content, he said.

The Skype service needs to use speech recognition to understand the speaker, machine learning for the translation, and text-to-speech technology to send the translation to the listener.

In Microsoft’s demonstration, executive Gurdeep Singh Pall speaks English with a German-speaking colleague, and Skype acts as real-time voice and text translator. Even in today’s wonderland of technological innovations, this looks like science fiction come to life.

The demonstration not only provided an oral translation, but a text-based one as well. The original text, as understood by Skype, appeared at the bottom. Although the text appeared scripted, the demonstration was still impressive. The German speaker, identified as Diana Heinrichs, however, clearly enunicated each word precisely, while Pall was less formal.

A company event this month to release a Surface tablet was noteworthy for what the CEO chose not to unveil. While Microsoft showed a larger model of its Surface Pro, a planned smaller tablet failed to meet with the approval of Nadella and his executives and was pulled from the event, people familiar with the matter said last week.