Skype has always been an evolving tool. It has grown from being a simple messenger to something more. The service has gone through many phases in the past, with its recent updates bringing it to the Apple Watch. The next avenue Microsoft is going to explore via Skype seems to be translation. There are a number of translation apps and services available for all major platforms (like the previously covered iTranslate Voice), but Skype Translator is different from all of them. For one thing, you won’t have to exit the chat window to get the translations, and more importantly, Skype Translator supports voice translation in real-time!
Skype Translator has been available previously as a closed beta for Windows users, but today Microsoft has made this app public. It still retains its ‘preview’ label though.
You can use the Translator on Window 8 and Windows 10 only (at least for now). Before installing it, you are advised to uninstall any previous version of Skype. This is owing to the fact that Skype Translator is a complete Skype client, and will import your complete chat history and contact list once you have signed in.
Skype Translator in Voice Calls
During voice calls, the app only offers translations if the other party is speaking Spanish or English. Of course, a lot depends on the speaker’s accent, and voice quality. To get the best results, it is advisable to speak a bit slowly, and use a set of headphones. To augment the spoken translation, Skype Translator also transcribes the whole conversation in an optional chat window. This window displays both sides of the conversation in English and Spanish.
The voice translation feature is designed to work in both video and audio calls. Microsoft has stated that the translation accuracy is bound to increase with the passage of time, as the service gains more experience and usage data. More languages will be added to the mix with coming updates.
Skype Translator in Text Chats
This part of the app might not sound as impressive as real-time voice translation, but is no less useful. During text chats, Skype Translator supports more than 40 languages. You will get the translated version of each message right above the original one. Of course, you have to select the other party’s language from the person’s contact card.
If you are on Windows 8, or Windows 10 TP, there is no reason why you shouldn’t ditch the current Skype versions and make the switch to Skype Translator. The app is available for free, and is sure to receive some major updates in the coming months. We are also hoping to see it on Windows 7 and other platforms soon.