Today Microsoft celebrates International Mother Language Day (IMLD) alongside UNESCO, with the goal to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism across the world.
Advancements in technology to support and preserve languages create greater awareness of the linguistic and cultural traditions celebrated throughout the world, which in turn promote understanding, tolerance and dialogue. Helping to enable business, communities, and consumers to communicate and collaborate across language barriers through technology innovation is a core focus for the Microsoft Translator team.
As part of that focus, Microsoft Translator is announcing Welsh as a new supported language in partnership with the National Assembly for Wales and leveraging the Microsoft Translator Hub. The Welsh language today becomes the latest to join a growing list of languages to benefit from translation services provided by Microsoft Translator.
In 2012, the National Assembly passed the Official Language Act into law, which placed a statutory duty on the Assembly Commission to treat both languages on the basis of equality.
The Assembly’s Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler, said: “One of my key roles is to ensure that all the people of Wales are able to engage with the Assembly’s work, whether through the Welsh or English language. That’s why we have been working with Microsoft to create an automatic language translation system to help the Assembly to meet our own language goals.”
Machine translation is a key part of the Assembly’s commitment to delivering a fully bilingual institution where businesses and services can be delivered through the Welsh and English languages. Users can now translate to and from Welsh using the breadth of Microsoft products including: Office, Bing Translator as well as in the Bing Translator applications for Windows Phone and Windows.
In addition to backend service updates to the Microsoft Translator API, new updates have been released for Windows and Windows Phone Translator apps which include:
To further commemorate IMLD, the Microsoft Local Language Program, a part of Microsoft YouthSpark, announced the Language Toolbox, an additional resource to the Microsoft Language Portal (LLP), serving as a consolidated inventory of free language resources and tools provided by Microsoft to help bridge the gap between language and technology. You can read more about this new resource here.
At Microsoft, we are excited that the continued advancements of machine translation features and functionality are enabling users to achieve a shared understanding and make the world a little smaller every day.
To Learn More
Over the summer, Michelle Agcamaran, Priya Ganesan, and Kat Zhou—spent the summer as High School Interns at Microsoft Research Redmond working with mentor Alex Cheng, Translator Software Design Engineer. Their work with the Translator team was focused on building an app to showcase the capabilities of Translator and our partners in a new and interesting way. After three months of work we are proud to unveil the fruits of our intern’slabor: Song Translator.
The song translation app allows users to upload their favorite songs with lyrics, add timestamps to the lyrics, then translate and record the song in another language. Song Translator leverages the Translator Control while also leveraging other key Microsoft technologies and features including: Windows 8, Visual Studio, Background Task for live tiles, and Windows Azure Cloud Storage, as well as pitch synthesis from SonicAPI.
Built in Visual Studio 2012 with C# and XAML using the Windows 8 Store App template, the app calls the Translator API to process the translations into over 40 of the Translator supported languages.
Watch the Song Translator Demo from Michelle, Priya, and Kat
How to Use the Song Translator
Check out the walk through guides written by our Interns to learn more.
To learn more about our talented group of summer interns and their experience, make sure to check out the Microsoft Research blog post.
The world of speech to speech translation is coming soon with Skype Translator Preview, and you can pre-register today to reserve your seat! This new app combines the ubiquity of Skype as a global communications platform with the translation power of Microsoft Translator. Taking a cue from Star Trek's Universal Translator, Skype Translator lets you converse with people around the world in foreign languages in near real time. Just speak into the Translator in your native language, and the other person will hear the message instantly in their own native language. As an added bonus, Skype Translator Preview will also support instant message translation between all the languages supported by Microsoft Translator! Skype Translator uses deep neural network based machine learning voice recognition technology and integrates it with Microsoft Translator's advanced automatic translation service to break down the language barrier. This initial preview will only be available for Windows 8.1 devices and above and will only support selected languages. To find out how to pre-register for Skype Translator, view the Skype Garage & Updates blog at http://blogs.skype.com/2014/11/03/skype-translator-early-preview-sign-up-opens-today/
The Microsoft Translator team is sponsoring MIX 09 this year and we will be showing off the new web page translation widget and the translator APIs. If you are attending MIX, come to our session!
All attendees go widget invite codes in the bags. At this session you will see how you can make use of them.
MIX09-B05M Exposing Web Content to a Global Audience Using Machine Translation. San Polo 3401 | Thursday March 19 |1:25 PM-1:45 PM
We will also be at the Live Search session.
MIX09-T33F Customized Live Search for Web and Client Applications. Delfino 4001| Thursday March 19 |1:00 PM-2:15 PM |
We will also be giving out the exclusive API invite codes at these sessions – so make sure to be there!
Keep an eye on this blog for further news and tidbits from MIX.
- Vikram Dendi Business Strategy & Front End Program Management Microsoft Translator
Translating a website can be tricky – especially if it is not one that you built. A year back at MIX, we helped webmasters and developers take a step towards delivering a seamless, well integrated translation experience using the translator widget and the APIs. Yet, there are still many sites out there that users still need to translate without the help of such technology. Thus the continued popularity of our webpage translator, and the bi-lingual viewer feature that it pioneered.
Some of you might have noticed a significant improvement in how the webpage translator handles certain web pages that it had not done so well in the past. A couple of weeks ago, we released an updated version of the webpage translator that improves site compatibility and delivers better performance. If you have not tried it recently, we urge you to try any sites that you had not been able to get webpage translators to translate on this new release. As always, if you do find problems please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Speaking of MIX, keep an eye on MIX 2010 this year. In addition to the all the buzz around Windows Phone, don’t miss out on this session. :-)