The ability to use language and the capacity to translate between languages is one of the characteristics that define us as humans. Over the last decade, world class researchers - both at our own research labs and around the world have been working on the problem of machine translation, the results of which you are able to enjoy today on Bing and in many other Microsoft products.
Last month at the BUILD conference, Satya Nadella, (President, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft) announced the global, high volume commercial availability of the Translator API. This was a significant milestone for us, as we had seen a tremendous increase in demand from partners who see it adding great value to their customers and wanted the reliability, performance and scale of a Microsoft service. It was an added bonus that we were able to deliver this class of service to our partners at a significantly lower price than alternatives. Over the past few months, the diversity and volume of partners using our API has increased rapidly and continues to grow.
A few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out translations powered by our service to many of their major markets across the world. With a user base larger than most countries of the world (barring India and China), and with 75% of the users from outside the US – Facebook is a great example of how the translation API can help partners break down language barriers.
Facebook joins many other partners including Trip Advisor, Harper Collins, Elsevier, Webster and eBay who are utilizing the translation API in innovative new ways to bring their services and content to new audiences and new languages. We hope to showcase many of these in the coming months on the Translator blog.
Today at Web 2.0, in a session titled “The Future of Big Data & the Global Web” we will be outlining the value that this data driven service provides to businesses as they look to expand their business and audience globally. We will also provide an inside look at how the service is built, and showcase some of the partners that have utilized the Translator service to great effect.
The Translator API offers instant text translation, language detection functionality, text-to-speech in multiple languages and innovative collaborative translation functionality. It was designed from ground up for partner use, and thus provides a choice of API interfaces: SOAP, AJAX, HTTP or OData, allowing developers to choose what works best for their scenario. If you are a web site owner looking for a simpler, no-code solution – the free webpage translation widget might be the best choice. It utilizes the same APIs, and provides additional community focused tools to customize the translations to your site and content in partnership with your visitors. A comprehensive FAQ is available here.
We believe in the idea of “Translation being a utility, and not a destination”, and you can join us in supporting that notion by utilizing the API to break down language walls on the web today. Subscribe to the free tier of service to get started. You can always upgrade to a higher level of service if you need to.
Vikram Dendi, Director of Product Management, Microsoft/Bing Translator
Also posted to the Bing Search blog.