Cortana adds native translation support to its box of tricks

Microsoft Cortana
Microsoft Cortana

All the goodness of Microsoft Translator is being added to the Cortana app inside Windows 10, which means you'll soon be able to ask Microsoft's digital assistant for instant translations.

Just load up the OS on a tablet or laptop and you're good for your tour of Europe (just watch those data charges).

Native translation support is now available in the US and China and we're hoping it expands internationally soon. Cortana itself hasn't yet been switched on in the UK yet for Windows 10 users but there seems no reason why Microsoft would want to hold it back much longer.

38 different languages are supported, including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, simplified Chinese and Japanese. Some less well-known ones make the cut too, such as Finnish and Slovenian.

Language barriers

To use Cortana's new interpretation skills, shout the "hey Cortana" shortcut at your computer. You can then use the phrases "translate..." or "how to say..." as you prefer. As with any other Cortana query, you can opt to type it into the taskbar search box if you don't like raising your voice in the living room or office.

Via the Open Translator button to the side you can edit the translation, hear it through a text-to-speech engine, or share it with a friend (if you must) - and this shortcut takes you to the Microsoft Translator page on Bing.

Considering Microsoft Translator is already well established as part of Bing, it's a surprise it's taken so long to make the jump to Cortana.

Microsoft also recently added the same functionality to its Skype app, though if you have serious business to conduct we'd suggest that learning the lingo is still the best way of making yourself understood.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.