Communication has and will always be the most important tool that humans use to understand, interact and work with each other. And because there are billions of people all over the world, it is unlikely that you will never get to interact with someone who speaks a different language. We’re just talking about physical interaction. But with the proliferation of the Internet, we now have to contend with online interaction too.
The Internet didn’t just make communication easier for everyone through apps like Skype, Viber and Facebook Messenger. In the case of Skype, it also made communication easier for people speaking in different languages through its translator service.
Skype is Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) voice and video calling service. Skype Translator is the communication platform’s real-time speech translation service. When it was introduced in 2014, Skype Translator only supported two languages, English and Spanish. And translation only worked for Skype calls. Over time, the number of languages expanded. So did the tool’s reach — from just Skype Calls, to mobile and landline calls.
A few days ago, Skype Translator reached another milestone. As announced by Microsoft, a new language has been added to Skype Translator, bringing its total number of supported languages to 10.
Prior to this milestone, Skype users all over the world could make real-time voice and video calls with other Skype users speaking in any of the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Spanish. Now, Skype users can also converse with those speaking in Japanese — Skype Translator’s tenth and latest language offering.
Aside from Skype Translator, all ten languages are also available on all Microsoft Translation services like Microsoft Translator Live. Microsoft also says that their translational service will be performed with their ‘state of the art neural network systems’, which means we can expect the service to get better as it continues to learn and master the intricacies of the language over time.
To try out Japanese or any of the other nine languages available on Skype Translator, simply head over to your Skype Windows Desktop program and click on the globe icon between the video and phone icon. If you’re using Windows 10, click on the Skype Translator button in the Preview app.
So why did Skype choose the Japanese language? As explained in their blog post, it’s one of the most difficult languages to learn, especially for those whose native language is English because it had a completely different vocabulary and grammatical structure. Moreover, Japan has become one of the most popular destinations both for business and for pleasure, which is why it makes sense to become familiar with the language.
Apart from translating voice and video calls to help break language barriers, Skype likewise offers text translation for over 60 languages.