Skype, like any other communication service, is all about bringing down the barriers between information exchange, and Skype Translator is a major step in breaking down the biggest barrier of them all: language. A technological marvel from Microsoft, Skype Translator combines the power of speech recognition and machine learning to provide real-time translations to chat and voice conversations over Skype. It’s almost like science fiction or the magical Babel fish, and it’s finally available for all Skype for Windows users, as announced by the Skype team.
This makes over a year since the preview for Skype Translator debuted in partnership with Microsoft Translator, and while it captivated the tech press then, it’s much improved now. Voice-to-voice translation support is now available for seven languages: Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Text-to-text translation is available for a whopping 50 languages. New languages will be continually added, the team promises.
The feature is accessed by pressing on the globe icon available to the right corner of any chat window within Skype. A panel will be brought up, where you can flip a switch to turn on Translator, as well as choosing the language for you and your speaking partner. The feature is available in the latest version of Skype for Windows, so if you don’t see the globe, an update might be in order.
Apart from announcing the completion of the rollout, the Skype team also shares some interesting language-related facts from the data gathered through the previews, including the most popular language pair (French-English), the feature’s popularity (400% increase in number of calls since launch), and the most international Skype Translator calling corridor (Germany to Ghana). Even with the rollout, Skype Translator remains in preview, as such, it’s constantly evolving and can only get better. It’s innovative, truly practical softwares like this that makes Microsoft stand out, and we can’t wait to see the company’s future projects.