Skype Translator adds 5th most spoken language in the world

Skype Translator

Skype Translator will speak some of the world's most widely used languages, and today it's added another: Arabic.

Arabic, specifically Modern Standard Arabic, becomes the eighth language Skype Translator can speak out loud, joining English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese.

It was the fifth most spoken language in the world in 2015, and the team at Skype is keen to connect people who speak it all over the world, particularly in light of current events.

"What is the role of Skype? We are the fabric of society today," Microsoft's Gurdeep Singh Pall said during a briefing at the Skype offices several weeks ago. "What is happening in the world today? The world needs translation into Arabic," he continued, pointing to the refugee crisis in the Middle East and efforts to connect refugees with friends and family.

In a demo I saw at the Skype offices, the translation was fairly accurate and instantaneous. There were a few missed words, but the straightforward conversation flowed fine and the meaning came across.

Skype Translator types out the words as it's translating, which Skype says helps to reassure users that the translation is underway.

To activate Arabic translation or any spoken language in the Skype for Windows desktop app, click on the globe and turn on Skype Translator. You can then pick your language preferences for messages and spoken translations.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.