Microsoft Teaches Skype Translator French and German
With support for the French and German languages, the near-real-time translation technology is steadily growing its global footprint, even among those who can't hear.Microsoft added two new spoken languages to Skype Translator, the company announced on Thursday, bringing the total number of supported spoken languages to a tidy half-dozen. "Today, we are happy to announce that we are once again breaking down language barriers by introducing French and German to the line-up of spoken languages available in the Skype Translator preview app," wrote Yasmin Khan, a Skype senior product marketing manager, in a company blog post. "We are now breaking down more language barriers, and bringing the world closer together, by offering six spoken Skype Translator languages—English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish—along with 50 instant messaging languages." The Skype Translator application for Windows 8.1 is currently in beta. Powered by Microsoft's cloud computing and machine learning technologies, the software monitors Skype conversations and produces both text and spoken translations on the fly. First demoed in May 2014, the company released a preview version of Skype Translator in December with support for two spoken languages, English and Spanish. On April 8, Microsoft released an update that brought Italian and Chinese (Mandarin) into the fold. Enabling Chinese support was a big milestone for the company's computer-based translation efforts, said Khan at the time.
"As you can imagine, Mandarin is a very challenging language to learn, even for Skype Translator," she stated. "With approximately 10,000 characters and multiple tones, this is one of the most difficult languages for a native English speaker to master, along with Arabic, Japanese, and Korean."