Skype is now offering a translation service for users' Skype and SkypeOut conversations. For a fee of $2.99 a minute, users may have their voice communications translated rather quickly. The funds are automatically deducted from your SkypeOut balance, so make sure you have some cash in reserves before making that call.
While the implementation of this might conjure up images of advanced voice recognition software and on the fly translation, the actual solution Skype is using is far less glamorous. Language Line, an interpretation and translation company, has live translators on the line with your Skype call, listening in and then translation your messages to the recipient. While a third party listening in to a potentially important call might scare away some, Language Line claims 100% confidentiality.
To its credit, the service does offer an impressive 150 language options and could be very useful in certain situations. Imagine a message that must quickly get to a company's Korean office from America and no available translator. It's certainly not cheap, but it could potentially save a business deal or two.
View: Skype News Release
News source: Ars Technica