Skype To Launch Real-Time Language Translator
Real-time voice translation will be added to Skype by the end of the year, Microsoft has revealed.
The firm says it has taken years of research to be in a position to launch the feature, and that it is still "early days" for the technology.
Skype vice president Gurdeep Pall said: "It is early days for this technology, but the Star Trek vision for a Universal Translator isn't a galaxy away, and its potential is every bit as exciting as those Star Trek examples.
"We've invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they're emerging as important components in this more personal computing era."
A test version of the service will be released for Windows 8 later this year.
It is unclear whether the feature will be offered for free or whether a fee will be required.
Skype has more than 300 million monthly users, and more than two billion minutes of voice and video conversations take place every day using the service.
At launch, the service will only work with a very small number of languages.
It is hoped the software can learn the subtleties of various accents and voice type as a result of the massive amount of voice data processed by Skype.
The company was bought by Microsoft in May 2011 but has faced competition from Apple's Facetime, Blackberry's BBM, and several other chat services and apps.