Some Observations on Skype Translator Preview: Impressive Translation, But Don’t Miss Transcription

There are other Skype Translator reviews (Mashable, etc) but I’ll just point out some things I noticed from my perspective that might be interesting to my audience.

  • Only Skype (Skype4C) contacts can be enabled for “Write” and “Speak” translation (in the Preview at least). (sorry, no Lync/Skype4B)
  • You enable translation by going to the Skype contact card and designating the “Write” and “Speak” languages of the contact. (Skype doesn’t auto-detect language)
    • currently the Preview only supports Spanish <-> English translation
    • English <-> English transcription (transcription in the IM pane)
  • “Speak” on has Spanish at this time; “Write” has many common languages. (~40?)
  • With “Speak” translation, you hear the actual voice of the other Skype user, then in a moment the translation. (also, there is a text based transcript in the IM panel)
    • You can start talking before the translation is done
    • I’ve noticed other people say this as well, but it’s hard to not think “United Nations”
  • You can also set the language to English on both sides and get a Transcript!
    • in my tests it is VERY accurate
    • Talking on top of each other does not cause a problem.
  • You can download a transcript if Skype did actual translation between languages, you only see the “transcript” in the IM panel if there is no translation (my experience)

Some Screen Shots

You designate a Skype contact’s written and spoken language in the Skype contact card. Only works with Skype contacts.


Set your own Translation settings, including what you sound like


The logo


English to English Transcript (full screen)


Just English transcript


Notice at the beginning of a Translation or Transcription call Skype speaks the below notice:


A little technical help from Skype


Downloadable HTML transcript



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