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October 2015: Skype can now translate live conversations in any combination of English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Stashed in: Microsoft, History of Tech!, The World, Science Role

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This speech recognition breakthrough was first demonstrated in Microsoft Research in 2012:

Now it's working live in Skype.

Maybe it's not as necessary to learn a new language as it used to be. 

Reddit comment:

Translating freely and real-time between five different European languages? Awesome. But the fact that they have Mandarin is what makes me sit up and pay attention--now we can convert between entirely different language trees, which basically opens up every language ever to this type of software.

Do they really mean Mandarin?

Yes. Updated. 

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