Skype Translator
Users in Europe, Japan, Australia and the U.S. have reported connectivity problems with the communication app Skype. Reuters

The general public can now use Skype Translator to talk to friends in four different languages in real time. This is thanks to Microsoft dropping the sign-up requirement for its Skype Translator preview, which allows anyone to download the app, as long as that person has a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 preview PC or tablet.

Skype Translator is a modified version of the Skype client that translates a user’s speech into languages including English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. Over instant messaging, Skype Translator supports 50 languages and is powered by the Microsoft Translate cloud service. So when a message is sent, the recipient can read it in the language of their choice.

The Skype team made the software available on a limited basis in December, initally with only English and Spanish real-time voice translation. But since then, it has gradually improved and support for new languages is being added on a regular basis.

While not currently available in the preview, Skype Translator has also worked with other languages, such as German. When Microsoft first unveiled Skype Translator last year during the Re/Code Code conference, Skype corporate Vice President Gurdeep Singh Pall demonstrated the service with a German colleague.

Windows users looking to download Skype Translator can do so through the Windows Store.