Skype today announced that its Skype Translator tool is now built directly into its main app for all Windows users. This means Skype for Windows users no longer need a separate app to translate conversations in seven languages (Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish) and 50 messaging languages.
Skype Translator launched in preview on Windows in December 2015. The Microsoft-owned company then announced in June 2015 that it would integrate the real-time translation technology into its Skype for Windows desktop app, and started that rollout process in October 2015. In other words, we knew this was coming, and now it’s finally available for all.
To start a conversation with someone who is speaking a language you don’t know, just click on the globe in the upper right-hand corner of the Skype for Windows desktop app. If you don’t see the icon, make sure to update your app to the latest version from skype.com.
As we’ve noted before, we’re surprised Skype chose to integrate so soon: Offering Skype Translator as a separate app makes a lot of sense — this is very early technology that simply won’t work well in many cases. And yet, Skype is already sharing “fun facts” about the integration:
- French to English is the most popular language pair
- The number of calls per day has increased 400 percent since launch
- The “most international” Skype Translator calling corridor is Germany to Ghana
Skype Translator was only ever released on Windows. Skype still has made no mention of bringing the technology to other platforms, as a standalone Skype Translator app or integrated into the main Skype app.
Because Skype Translator relies on machine learning, the more the technology is used, the more it improves. Now that all Skype users on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 can access it, the feature should only get even better.