Translation apps help open up the world around us, breaking down barriers of communication and making talking with someone on the other side of the world as easy as chatting with our next door neighbor. We’ve seen software that automates the translation process for entered text, captured images, and even audio snippets, and last year Skype tried taking things to the next level with real-time voice translation. While that started out as a signup-only preview, the service is now ready to start being used by the public at large, and today the Skype Translator preview becomes available to anyone interested in giving it a spin.
The Windows software can handle speech in English, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin, and provides a spoken translation alongside a written transcript of the conversation.
If you need to communicate in a different tongue, there’s text support for an additional fifty or so languages. Expect both spoken and text translation abilities to keep on improving, as Microsoft says that it wants to support “as many languages as possible.”
Unfortunately, there’s no Windows 7 support: you’re going to need to be on Windows 8.1 or the Windows 10 Technical Preview to check this release out. Microsoft mentions wanting to make the software available on more “relevant platforms” in the future, so hopefully that limitation will change, too.