Skype's radical real-time voice translator now works with normal phone calls

Multi-language calls are no longer limited to the Skype network.

Skype snuck an interesting new feature into its preview build of the Skype Windows Store app late last week. The new version of Skype Preview can now perform real-time spoken word translations via Skype Translator when calling landlines and mobile phones—no Skype required on the receiving end.

This is a huge deal, bringing Skype one step closer to becoming a true universal translator.

To try out the new version of Skype Preview you’ll need to be running the latest version of the Windows 10 Insider preview build on the fast ring—Build 14986. Once you’re on that build of Windows 10, download and install the latest version of Skype Preview. If you already have Skype Preview installed just check the Windows Store for any updates.

On top of that, the new feature requires some Skype credits or a calling subscription since calls to landlines and mobile phones are not free. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal subscriber you already get 60 minutes of free Skype calling minutes every month.

skypepreviewwindows10

Skype Preview for Windows 10 with real-time translations to phones.

Why this matters: Prior to this experimental feature rollout, Skype Translator required both people to be using Microsoft’s messaging app. Now, Skype’s looking to remove that dependence by allowing at least one side of the conversation to be Skype-free. That will make Skype real-time translation much easier to use since users don’t need to figure out a special time when both people are on Skype. Instead, one side just makes a regular phone call from Skype on a Windows 10 PC.

Skype translation to landlines and mobiles sounds like a great addition, but we haven’t tested it yet so we can’t say how well the new feature works. Keep in mind that this is still a preview feature so expect some hiccups.

Using the new Skype feature appears fairly straightforward. Just input the phone number of the call recipient, specify which language each party is speaking, then hit the phone icon to connect the call. Skype currently supports nine spoken languages, including Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. 

[via The Verge]

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags skypeMessagingWindows 10

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?