Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Skype's Universal Translator Bridges the Language Gap, Mostly

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Skype's Universal Translator Bridges the Language Gap, Mostly

Article excerpt

Skype now offers the ability to speak seven different languages.

Microsoft has completed rolling out Skype's real time translation software to all Windows users, according to a new press release. The video and voice calling platform, founded in Estonia in 2003 and purchased by Microsoft in 2011, now offers a global range of languages available for real-time translation over video chat and text.

Skype Translator is currently available for free for all Windows users. Available languages for real time translation over video chat include Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

@Skype The world just got a little smaller, a little closer...#SkypeTranslator #MIEExpert SJ (@saminjuneau) January 14, 2016

"We launched Skype Translator preview just over a year ago in partnership with Microsoft Translator," the blog post reads. "Skype Translator has come a long way since then."

Skype launched its Skype Translator preview roughly a year ago in December in partnership with Microsoft Translator. The stated goal of the program was "to make it possible for people to communicate irrespective of what language they speak," according to a Skype press release from 2014. The preview started with two languages, Spanish and English. By June, when Skype announced the Skype Translator would be coming to the Windows desktop app, the preview featured four languages, English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. According to Skype's latest release, the current most popular language translation is French to English.

The real-time translator works in video chats. During the demonstration at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in 2014, presenters spoke one at a time with a brief pause after they finished speaking. A computerized voice would then translate what they had said and a small window at the bottom of the screen displayed the translation in text.

Though presenters spoke carefully and clearly, some small errors could be seen in the translations. …

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