Skype has designed the system in order to break down language barriers between friends, family and colleagues.
Recently, Skype has expanded the availability of its real-time translation feature, integrating the tool with calls made to mobile phones and landlines.
Previously, the translation feature, which began rolling out to users back in 2014, only worked for Skype-to-Skype calls.
Skype Translator supports over 50 languages. The system works best with headphones and a microphone and it helps if users speak as clearly as possible. As you or your contact speaks, it will be translated in your headphones and the translations will also appear on your screen.
In order to use Skype Translator, users will need some (paid for) Skype credits. To enable the translation functionality, users must select a contact then select the translator icon and turn translator on.
Finally, it is necessary to select the language for translation using the drop down next to your contact’s name, while in a call or instant messaging / chat.
When the person on the other side answers a call that is using Skype Translator, they’ll be played a message telling them the call is being recorded and translated. The rest of the call will take place with short delays while waiting for the conversation to be translated.
The system is good but it is not perfect. Skype uses automatic translation powered by deep learning systems, which are designed to improve over time.
As the technology develops, the errors will gradually reduce but in the meantime, it is a good compromise and it’s certainly better than not having any conversation at all.