Microsoft has been working on its real-time voice translator for Skype for some time and has let it out in bits and pieces. Well, the full Skype Translator is now live for all Windows desktop users. If you have Skype installed, select Help, and then Check for Updates and download the new update.
Skype Translator currently offers voice-to-voice translation for seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish. It will also do real-time translation of typed messages sent via its instant messenger.
Skype Translator launched as a preview about a year ago with Italian and Chinese. The Italian was an interesting choice. I would have figured on Spanish, but Microsoft said there was strong demand.
In the blog post announcing the product availability, Microsoft gave some interesting facts. French-to-English is the most popular language pair, the number of calls per day has increased 400% since launch, and the top international Skype Translator calling corridor is Germany to Ghana. The latter is likely due to the large amount of African immigrants to Germany in recent years.
And Microsoft is not done. "With the continued adoption of Skype Translator, we are working on rolling out new languages and platforms—bringing the translation feature to more Skype apps and implementing an even wider selection of languages. We are dedicated to continue the growth of this new chapter in communication which has enabled people to connect globally, for free," the Skype Team wrote in the blog.
The team emphasized that Skype Translator uses machine learning, so the more people that use the technology, the more they can improve the translation service and better the experience for everyone.
Skype Translator is available for Windows 7, 8, and 10 users, as well as Android and iOS, but it is not yet available on the Mac, nor has Microsoft disclosed when it will release a version for it.