Advice | December 13, 2016 9:00 am

Skype Just Broke the Language Barrier

Or, how to speak Russian without actually learning it

If you call a hotel in Russia to book a room, chances are your phone call will be recorded. Thanks to a new feature Skype just rolled out, that might actually be a useful thing — for you.

In order to let traditional Skype users communicate with people who don’t have the service, Skype created a new system that will translate calls placed to mobile phones and landlines.

After informing the person on the other end of the line the call is being recorded and translated, the system will translate the recipient’s responses and display them onscreen with short delays.

The feature — which is only available for users who register with Windows Insider Program, use the newest version of Skype Preview and also have some credits to burn —  works with nine languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian) and employs machine learning so that it is constantly evolving and improving.

It’s still worth knowing how to say “one tuck, one no-tuck” in your comrade’s native tongue while making your reservation, but the new feature certainly has potential.

(Odna skladka, odin ne-skladka.)