Skype now speaks the languages used in Beijing and Rome, but for the time being, it is just a preview.
Skype’s Internet calling service marketing director, Yasmin Khan, made a blog post Wednesday that stated Italian was now a part of the languages the translator could speak. It was added to the Skype Translator preview program after much interest from their users. However, although Italian was a fairly painless addition, Mandarin would prove quite the challenge for the translator.
Since Mandarin is one of the most challenging languages for the native English speaker to master, it is also more difficult to program into the Skype Translator Preview program. Scientists and researchers from Skype worked alongside those in the US to assist in creating the language, recognition, and translation models used for Mandarin.
Skype is now facing competition with Facebook’s WhatsApp, which allows voice calling, as well as a host of other features. WhatsApp is the largest instant messaging service worldwide, with over 700 million users, which forcedSkype to rise to the occasion by creating both Skype Translator and Skype for Business. Now, with the addition of Mandarin and Italian, Skype Translator can now handle four different languages, including Spanish and English.
Skype Translator was first announced in May of last year, and it gives its users almost real-time language translation. It is able to quickly translate the languages spoken at both ends of the line, making language barriers a thing of the past. Facebook’s WhatsApp might soon have some serious communication competition.