In the Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy books, characters from across the universe can communicate using something called the Babel Fish, a small creature that burrows itself into your ear and translates any given language by sending signals directly into your brain. Here on earth, we don’t have a Babel Fish. But, thanks to a burgeoning form of artificial intelligence, honest-to-goodness translation technology is finally on its way, and it won’t involve implanting a fish in your ear. Later this year, Microsoft will release a beta version of Skype Translate, a near real-time translation tool. It’s not the first time the company has showed off the technology that underpins this app but now the software giant has wrapped this translation engine in a package that’s ready for everyday internet users.