Skype's newest update allows for a real-time translator that supports Arabic, according to Engadget. This translator was rolled out in 2014 and has slowly been adding more and more languages, and are now up to eight: English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and as of today, Arabic.
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Microsoft chose to go with Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), as it is the most widely understood and spoken language amongst Muslims around the world. This form is what is taught in schools and is used in journalism. Even though the translation feature can work between any two of the language listed above, it works best with English and another language.
Microsoft has also been working on an artificial intelligence system. In what has been dubbed the Computational Network Toolkit, this framework will help with speech recognition in Skype. This is a longshot, but it hoped that professionals will use it in business and as a way to improve performance.
Since starting translator, the number of calls have increased 400%.
In other news, Microsoft is ending the integration of Skype for TV app. Instead, they are focusing on integrating the app to the OneDrive so that it can be used during business meetings and working on the same document.
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According to the company's blog, "users have changed the way they use Skype, with the majority accessing it from a mobile device – including when in the living room." With that switch in user behavior, most TV makers are expected to remove the application from "some or all of their TV models" starting in June this year.