Skype’s live translation feature launches

Live spoken translation launches with Spanish and English, and more than 40 written languages

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The Independent Tech

Skype's live translation feature, which will help people to communicate in different languages over its video chat software, has opened for previews.

The preview programme will launch with Spanish and English as spoken translation, and over 40 written instant messaging languages.

Customers, who need to be running Windows 8.1 on desktop or mobile, can join the preview on the Skype sign-up page.

The software uses ‘machine learning’, which means that it gets smarter as it used. The preview will be used to teach the software, and the language preferences that people express when they sign up will help the company decide which to add next.

Skype announced that it was building the automatic language translator in May. It said that the new feature was the result of “decades of work” and that it would launch later in 2014.

While the live translation launched to much excitement, there has been worries that, given the demonstrations were done in such controlled conditions, the program might not work as well when released to the public. Today’s release offers the first chance to try the technology in such conditions.

Skype launched the preview with a video of children in Mexico City and the US, using the live translation between Spanish and English to talk to one another.