Today, Microsoft announced that Skype is getting an update to version 8.54, which Skype Insiders have been testing for a couple of weeks now. As has been the case with most recent Skype updates, the list of changes is very small, but there's something interesting, a new feature Translated Conversations. Skype has been able to translate conversations for a few years, but the feature was called Skype Translator, and that's changing now.
Skype Translator was introduced in 2015 as a standalone app, and built into the main Skype app for desktop in 2016. However, Microsoft completely rebuilt Skype last year, and since then, the feature has been available through the Slype Translator bot, which is responsible for sending a translated message after the original one. Now, the bot is being killed off and being replaced with built-in translated conversations.
In terms of usability, this could be an improvement, since the Skype Translator bot would essentially count as an additional member of the chat that needs to be added to the conversation. However, according to the support page, Translated Conversations support 11 languages, with no distinction between spoken and written languages. Skype Translator supported 13 spoken languages, and over 50 in text form. It's unclear if the missing languages will be added over time, but we've reached out to Microsoft for clarification.
The 11 languages supported by the new Translated Conversations feature are Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English (UK), English (US), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. To start a translated conversation, you'll need to click the user name of the contact whose messages you want to translate and send a translation request. They'll also need to be on the latest version of Skype to see it, though.