Microsoft has boosted the translation capabilities in Skype with the addition of Italian and Mandarin to the Skype Translator video call service.
The introduction of Mandarin is perhaps the biggest gain for businesses. A difficult language to translate and learn, Microsoft said in a Skype blog post that it has worked hard to create the most accurate translation possible.
"As you can imagine, Mandarin is a very challenging language to learn, even for Skype Translator," the firm explained.
"With approximately 10,000 characters and multiple tones, this is one of the most difficult languages for a native English speaker to master, along with Arabic, Japanese and Korean.
"Microsoft researchers and scientists at our labs in Beijing, working very closely with their US colleagues, played an instrumental role in building the recognition, language and translation models for Mandarin."
Microsoft added that the beta programme also generated a lot of interest in support for Italian.
"A significant goal for our public preview was to partner with our customers to learn and refine the optimal interaction models for speech-to-speech translation," the firm said.
"Based on what we heard from early adopters, we made some updates to the current version of Skype Translator which we believe are big steps forward in making the translation of human-to-human conversations across language barriers more accessible."
Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011 and commentators immediately questioned the wisdom of the $8.5bn deal.
The company said at the time that, while Skype would continue to run as a standalone business, it would be more closely linked to Microsoft's other properties including Lync, Outlook and Xbox Live.
The firm has added to Skype since then, tinkering with it and making it more of a rounded communications tool.
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