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Translator is here. Forget the four walls thing.

I am convinced. Global is a critical new literacy.  Now there’s no reason not to be global and to live it with learners.

Just around a year ago I wrote a post about being  blown away by Microsoft’s demo of Skype’s Translator service for real-time conversations with captions across language barriers.  While it’s been available on a limited basis, yesterday Microsoft announced that Translator Preview is now open for download for anyone who is using Windows 8.1 or a preview edition of Windows 10.

Translator will automatically transcribe and translate as you talk in near real-time.  An editable on-screen transcript appears as you talk.

Skype Translator is currently available for

  • Chinese (China)
  • Chinese (Taiwan)
  • Chinese (Hong Kong SAR)
  • Mandarin
  • English (United States)
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Italian

More languages are promised to come soon.  A free download is available at the Windows App Store.

As a Mac girl, I cannot yet take advantage of this preview, but I am still pretty darn excited.

This is a global game-changer.  I can see so many opportunities:

  • for us to connect our classrooms and libraries
  • for our students to participate and collaborate globally
  • for reporting new citizen science and journalism activities
  • for us to have conversations with experts.
  • for us and our classroom teacher partners to communicate with families of our students whose first languages are not English.  These conversations might even happen with all parties being in the same room during conferences.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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