Microsoft's Skype Translator now includes support for French and German, allowing more people to use the real-time translator app to converse with people who speak a different language from them.
Skype's product marketing director Yasmin Khan announced in a Skype blog post that Microsoft has added the two languages to Skype Translator, which means nearly 30 percent of the world's population can now use the app to help break language barriers in communicating with people across the globe.
"Many of our early adopters have described their experience using Skype Translator as magical; the first time you see someone's face who hears a translated conversation, they just light up," Khan says. "With the addition of French and German, there are now even more reasons to experience the excitement and impact that Skype Translator can bring to your conversation."
With French and German now supported, Skype Translator can now provide speech translations for a total of six languages. The other four include English, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. Microsoft promises to add more languages in the future, but for now, speakers of 50 other languages will have to suffice with text translations.
Skype Translator is currently available only as a modified version of the Skype Modern app for Windows 8. Users who are running Windows 7 and the no-longer-supported Windows XP will have to wait until Microsoft rolls out a dedicated Skype Translator app when Microsoft launches the highly anticipated Windows 10 on July 29.
Microsoft is also working on integrating Skype Translator with the main desktop client, but users will not be able to see the updated Skype app for desktop until the end of summer.
Skype Translator was first unveiled by Microsoft in a video showing two class of elementary students, one in the United States and another in Mexico, speaking with one another in their own native languages and completely understanding one another. For six months, Microsoft restricted Skype Translator in preview mode and required users to sign up to use the app.
In May, Microsoft lifted the sign-up restriction, making Skype Translator available to everyone on Windows 8 and adding Italian and Chinese to the list of languages that can be translated with speech.
"Last month, we made it easier to obtain the Skype Translator preview by removing the sign-up requirement," Khan says. "Since then, we have seen a 300 percent increase in Skype Translator usage! We are thrilled with the positive response from around the world, and especially thankful to ALL of the early adopters who downloaded the application and use it every day!"
Skype Translator is not a perfect translating machine, but it uses machine learning technologies to improve its translations. The more people use Skype Translator, the more the app learns and the better it will become.