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Microsoft's real-time Translator now available to all Skype users

May 14, 2015 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Lee Mathews / Geek

It's not quite a Babel fish, but at least you don't have to let a living thing swim into your ear canal. Microsoft's real-time Skype Translator service is now available to anyone who uses the messaging and video conferencing service.

In case you haven't seen it in action, the Translator is like something straight from the pages of a science fiction novel. It can translate incoming Skype IMs in more than four dozen languages -- including English, Spanish, French, German, Hindi, and even Welsh. In true Star Trek style, it can even translate Klingon (yes, really, and you can learn how to speak it with Duolingo).

Real-time translation of text is pretty amazing, but the truly mind-blowing thing about Microsoft's Skype Translator is that it can translate speech (from both video calls and voice-only calls) on the fly, too. The language options are much more limited, but it's still incredibly impressive to see in action. Microsoft's preview for testers originally only supported Spanish, but the Translator is evolving rapidly. Just last month, it learned to speak Mandarin and Italian.

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