Microsoft rolls out Skype Translator Preview Programme for Windows 8.1

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Microsoft has rolled out a preview of its Skype Translator for Windows 8.1 devices enabling users to communicate in different languages while placing a video call.

“Today, we are excited to announce the first phase of the Skype Translator preview program,” said Microsoft’s Gurdeep Pall.

“The preview program will kick off with two spoken languages, Spanish and English… Skype Translator will open up endless possibilities for people around the world to connect, communicate and collaborate; people will no longer be hindered by geography and language.”

Skype launched the preview with a video of students at Peterson School in Mexico City and Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington, playing a game dubbed “Mystery Skype” and using the live translation between Spanish and English to talk to one another.

The real-time Skype Translator technology is based on machine learning, so the more it gets used, the better it will be at translating audio and text.

At the moment, the Preview will translate video conversations carried out in only languages English and Spanish, however, it can translate instant messages in 45 languages including Dutch, Estonian, German, Hindi, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and Klingon.

Skype said more languages will be added to the roster in the future, although there’s not a clear timeframe yet.
“This is just the beginning of a journey that will transform the way we communicate with people around the world,” Pall added.

“Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each individual platform for our more than 300 million connected users.”

The preview program is available free of charge and is limited to those with Windows 8.1 computers and tablets as well as Windows 10 Technical Preview users. Interested users can request an invite at Microsoft’s Skype website.