Skype is a wildly popular VOIP and chat program used both by millions of users every day. With such wide-spread and international adoption, especially in the corporate world, it’s a little surprising that Skype lacks the capability of translating conversations from a foreign language into your native tongue. The global economy is a clichéd term but also rings true. It isn’t uncommon to have to converse with international business partners today. Obviously this can be a challenge for most of us not blessed with a diverse language background!
Clownfish is a simple and free utility that hooks into your existing Skype installation; providing translation services between one language and your own – at least within chat windows. Clownfish has the capability to leverage several translation engines including Google Translate, Yahoo Translate, and Microsoft Live. Translating correctness and quality is dependent on the service used and while none are perfect, it’s generally more than enough to get your point across – which is really what communication is about isn’t it?
With Skype running, download, install, and launch Clownfish. You will need to authorize Clownfish to hook into Skype through the notification dialog displayed.
Configuration is handled by access the Clownfish icon from your desktop tray – but you’ll find that the default setup is rather sufficient.
Clownfish will use Google Translate and auto-detect the language used on both ends of the conversation, translating and sending/displaying the text automatically as you converse. Supported languages are limited only by the translation engine used but currently Clownfish supports: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish
Clownfish is quite effective at its main task of text translation but it also includes other features, if not novelties, such as a chat robot with limited AI, voice-changer for audio calls, or even silently recording of your voice conversations. Not bad for a 600KB download right?
Clownfish is compatible with all current iterations of Windows and was tested with Win 7 64 bit and Skype 5.5.