I studied (and failed) French for almost a decade, so this AI feature in Microsoft Edge is perfect for me

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(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is working on a real-time translation for videos on the web, including YouTube videos.
  • The feature is in early testing in the Canary Channel, so it's not stable at this time.
  • Using real-time translation within Edge will require you to download and install a language pack once and then will work without additional downloads being needed.

Microsoft Edge will soon support a new real-time translation feature that takes the audio of any video on the web and translates it into a supported language. The feature is in testing among Canary Channel Insiders right now, so there are still bugs to work out. But assuming all goes to plan, people will soon be able to translate videos on the web into their language of choice.

The feature was spotted by Leo Varela, who shared some examples of the tool in action. Varela emphasized the bugginess of the feature in its current state, but that's to be expected from a Canary Channel feature.

At the moment, the feature supports translating from English, Spanish, or Korean, into English, German, Spanish, Hindi, Italian, or Russian.

Real-time translation is an incredibly useful tool that breaks down communication barriers. Many services support translation in one way or another, such as Microsoft Teams adding translated captions. But the new feature in Edge is especially useful because it appears to work across different platforms. While the examples shared by Varela are from YouTube, the feature doesn't appear to be exclusive to that platform.

Edge's video translation feature is still early in its testing phase, so it's far from a smooth experience. Varela said he had to make many attempts just to get one video to work. Even the example of the feature working is the translation is far from smooth. But that's what testing is for. Presumably, Microsoft will polish the video translation experience before rolling it out to the public.

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge is the default browser on Windows. It's based on Chromium, so it's compatible with the vast majority of the web. There are several Insider versions of the browser, allowing you to test new features and provide feedback to Microsoft.

Failing French

I confess that I don't speak another language. I studied French from kindergarten until I was a teenager and never managed to figure it out. I took well to American Sign Language when studying it in college, but then I moved to England, which uses British Sign Language. I also have split my life between two countries that primarily speak English (the US and the UK). As a result, the content I watch online and people I speak with are largely English-speaking. Real-time translation within Edge opens the doors to loads of new videos, or rather, videos that are new to me.

It was a welcome addition when real-time translation to text became more common on the web, but I prefer listening to some types of content, such as podcasts and long-form interviews. Real-time translation into voice will let me listen to interviews, news pieces, and podcasts featuring people speaking other languages.

So, while all of my French teacher deserve an apology from me, at least I can listen to French podcasts now. Thanks AI.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.