Microsoft will continue to let humans transcribe Skype Translations and Cortana conversations


Posts: 2,827   +574
Staff member

As reported by Motherboard, though, Microsoft has broken away from the pack and will continue to employ transcriptionists (both contractors and full-time employees). These individuals will listen to recordings captured by Skype's Translator feature and the Cortana virtual assistant; even if those recordings contain sensitive, confidential, or otherwise private information.

With that said, Microsoft is not completely ignoring the outcry. "We realized, based on questions raised recently, that we could do a better job specifying that humans sometimes review this content," a company spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement. The outlet claims that Microsoft's privacy policy and Skype Translator FAQ did not mention that humans may listen to captured audio to "improve the service," but moving forward, both those resources will contain this information.

"Our processing of personal data for these purposes includes both automated and manual (human) methods of processing," the privacy policy now discloses. "Our automated methods often are related to and supported by our manual methods."

Whether or not these small steps will be enough for privacy activists and the public remains to be seen.

Permalink to story.



Posts: 621   +329
And what exactly is the "need" to translate anything? Just ANOTHER good reason not to use that junk!

Are you serious? International conversations maybe? Skype Translator allows for individuals to speak in their native language and the recipient can have your speech automatically translated to and heard in their own native language.

I mean it really would be difficult to improve such a technology without a human element. That being said, with all the lawyers I'm sure Microsoft has on the payroll, the fact that they have human in the loop should have been in their terms from the get go.


Posts: 684   +441
Imagine ever using "Cortana" one single time, ever.

And Skype is garbage as well. Everyone has a phone already, just use that.