Skype users with contacts around the globe can use Skype Translator to interpret nine spoken languages in real time, and more than 50 languages while instant messaging. Introduced in 2014, the feature only worked with Skype-to-Skype calls—but now, The Verge reports, the app is expanding the feature to calls made to landlines and mobile phones.
Want to try it for yourself? The feature is still in development, so callers will need to download the Skype app’s latest beta version. You’ll also need to register for Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program (which lets people with a Windows 10 license sign up to access early builds of the operating system) and purchase some Skype credits.
Once everything’s all set, you pull up the Skype dialer, hit the “Translate” switch, choose the languages you plan to speak in, and make your call. The recipient will hear a brief message informing them that the conversation will be recorded and translated, and the rest of the phone exchange will be interspersed with brief pauses as Skype deciphers various phrases.
At the moment, Skype Translator supports English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, and Arabic. And as with all automated translation services, it's not foolproof; so if you're planning on holding any cross-cultural conversations, you may want to play it safe by speaking slowly and having a foreign language dictionary on hand.
[h/t The Verge]