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Translator will soon arrive in Skype for Windows

Barry Collins
9 Jun 2015
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Real-time voice translation to be built into Skype's desktop app by the end of the summer

Skype's real-time translation service is ready to be built into the main desktop application, the company has revealed. Initially unveiled last year, Skype Translator bridges the language barrier between users, translating the spoken word in real time.

Microsoft has been testing Skype Translator as a standalone app for Windows 8.1. Now the company is confident it's working well enough to be fully integrated into the main Windows app. "Last month we made it easier to obtain the Skype Translator preview by removing the sign-up requirement," reads a post on the Skype blog. "Since then, we have seen a 300% increase in Skype Translator usage. We are thrilled with the positive response from around the world."

The company says it hopes to have Translator built into the Windows version of Skype by the end of the summer, raising the possibility that it might be launched alongside Windows 10 at the end of July. The blog makes no mention of building Translator into Skype's mobile apps, suggesting this is one feature Microsoft may be keen to use as a Windows exclusive. 

Skype Translator currently works in four languages: English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. The service can translate text messages in 50 languages, but then it's by no means unique in that regard, with Google Translate offering to translate written messages in many more.

Microsoft urges users to wear a headset when using the Translate service, presumably because the reduced background noise increases the accuracy of the cloud-based translation. The service uses machine learning to improve the accuracy of the translation as it gathers more data points from users' conversations.

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