Skype Translator update brings Mandarin, Italian

Skype Translator, that wonderful science fiction-like tool that allows people to talk in real-time in two different languages, has been updated, and with that update it is now a little bit smarter. The software has gained knowledge of how to understand and speak Mandarin and Italian, opening it up to more users who want to chat with foreign speakers in their own native language. This joins the two languages the Preview software kicked off with, English and Spanish.

Skype Translator is a valuable tool that is deceptively easy to use. Two users, one speaking one language and one speaking another (assuming they're both supported languages) can talk to each other in a video chat, and Skype will serve as a translator for both of them, transcribing what one says into the other user's language. The software is still in its preview stage at this point and not perfect, but certainly adequate enough.

This latest update represents the improvements that are taking place, and is a good sign that things are still progressing smoothly. The addition of Mandarin support is a welcomed update, given how many people speak it and how difficult the language is for foreign speakers to master. Italian also opens the door to more users.

The update also brings with it some other changes, such as automatic volume control, which will automatically lower the user's partner volume while playing the translation at full volume, making it easier to keep track of the conversation. There's also a mute option for the translated voice, leaving on the transcript if desired, and there's text-to-speech recognition, which allows users to hear spoken translations of foreign language instant messages.

SOURCE: Skype Blog