Microsoft's Skype Translator is available for everyone to try right now

It's been almost a year since Microsoft first showed off Skype Translator, a new component of its communications platform that allows users to speak in their native languages, while their chat partners receive translated text messages of what they're saying, in near real-time.

Back in November, the company opened applications for those wanting to join its preview program, but anyone who successfully applied was then put on a waiting list to eventually be invited to try out the service for themselves.

But from today, Microsoft is opening up the Skype Translator preview to anyone that wants to give it a go. To take it out for a spin, you'll need to download the Skype Translator Preview app from the Windows Store; for now, it's only available to those with Windows 8.1, or PCs and tablets (but not phones) running current Windows 10 preview builds.

The description of the Skype Translator Preview app says that it only translates from English to Spanish and back, so this public preview may not yet work with Italian and Chinese (Mandarin) - two languages that it added to the more limited preview last month.

The company plans to add support for dozens of new languages in the future, so this is just a small start for now, but it's clear that there's plenty of potential here to make the world seem like a much smaller place once language barriers begin crashing down.

Neowin's senior North America editor, Brad Sams, tried out Skype Translator in a cross-language conversation with someone in China a few weeks ago. Be sure to check out his experience here.

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