Skype conversations between people who speak different languages could soon become the norm for an interconnected world.
The Internet phone company has kicked off the first preview of its real-time translation service for spoken English and Spanish, along with translation options for more than 40 languages within instant messaging conversations.
The preview of the Skype Translator app is available for anyone using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Technical Preview on their desktop or tablet devices, the company said early this week.
Skype also posted a video showing off the real-time translation during a spoken conversation between Spanish-speaking students in Mexico City and English-speaking students in Tacoma, Wash.
The app currently acts like a third-party interpreter involved in the call. Such a translator bot works by sending the audio streams to speech engines for translation and transcription. That allows it to translate what each person says as soon as he or she has finished talking.
"The automated translator in Skype Translator appears almost as a third speaker," according to a Skype blog post that explained the new service.