In January of this year, Skype added a feature in its preview build that blew away the minds of almost everyone who used it – the ability to translate live video and audio calls in real-time.
The Skype Translator supported eight languages – English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), and Arabic – until October when the Skype team added Russian to that list.
There was one problem though – you needed the Skype app on both ends for this feature to work; the Skype team has now rolled out an update that extends its capabilities to calls made to mobile phones and landlines.
Skype-to-Skype calls are nice – they are high-quality and work well, but the mobile and landline network is vast, and not everyone can be found on Skype.
The ability to make actual phone calls to mobiles and landlines via Skype have existed for a long time – it’s a paid feature, and it works well – but adding the ability to translate calls in real-time gives Skype an advantage over the traditional phone calls.
There’s always a catch; the requirements to use this feature demand quite a lot from the average user – at the moment, the feature is still in Preview so that you will require three things.
Firstly, you need to be in the Windows Insider Program; second, you need the Skype Preview app – not the regular Skype desktop client; and third, you need some Skype Credits to make the call to a mobile or landline.
If you can fulfill these three requirements, you can give the translation feature a try right now.
It works the same way as it does with regular Skype-to-Skype calls; simply make a call and toggle the “translate” option from the dialer, then select a language.
Skype will inform both users that the call is being recorded – and translated.
It’s an incredible feature, and it shows what the future might look like – a world where language barriers do not exist; but there’s plenty of work to be done – it needs to support more languages, and become even more accurate with the languages it already knows.
You can read more about the feature on Skype’s official blog.