Earlier this year, we reported that Microsoft was creating a real-time translator that would allow people who speak different languages to have normal conversations across Skype.

Now, the company has launched the first preview of the app, which will initially translate calls between English and Spanish before expanding into other languages.

The Skype Translator Preview app works by either adding real-time subtitles to people's conversations, or actually playing an audio translation of the foreign language dialogue to the person on the other end. 

At the inaugural Code Conference back in June, Gurdeep Pall, the Vice President of Skype Translator demonstrated the subtitle software with a colleague in Germany. Although there appeared to be a few teething problems, as you can see in the demonstration below, the ability is generally pretty mind-blowing.

"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," Pall wrote in a blog post in June.

startrek-universal-translatorStar Trek/NBC

The company is now marketing Skype Translator as a tool that will help schools around the world communicate, and has tested it in the US and Mexico. It's also translating instant message conversations in more than 40 languages.

Watch the demo of Skype Translator being used in schools below, we can't wait to open up the world a little further.

If you're interested in trying the preview of the software, you can sign up at the Skype site.

Soure: The Verge