Skype will soon have the ability to translate multilingual conversations in real time, as Microsoft graduates software translations from written text to actual voice calls. The translations will be done simultaneously, displaying multilingual subtitles. 

Chris Wendt, program manager of Microsoft's Machine Translation team, said "We felt speech translation was a very natural evolution of the text-translation work we've been doing. It's an exciting project, and it became clear that adding this capability to Skype and enabling people to have translated conversations was the killer scenario to get this technology into customers' hands."

The feature works remarkably well in demonstrations. The Inquirer tested the Bing translate engine with a few paragraphs of Portuguese-to-English to see if they could find any errors, but found "it did an almost word perfect transition there and back."

 

Microsoft is launching the translation engine in a beta version on Windows 8.1 later this year. Check out the new feature in action: