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  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Language Can Make the Difference Between Good and Great Customer Service

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    The following is a guest post by the Microsoft Translator Partner, Lionbridge Technologies, who developed GeoFluent as solution to address the challenge of real-time translation of user generated content leveraging the Microsoft Translator automatic translation service and customization capabilities of the Translator Hub.

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    It’s the middle of the night in China, and you are still at the office, working on a complex installation that needs to be up and running by the time the boss comes in the next day. There is no room for error, and the pressure is on.

    All of the sudden, a server malfunctions, and you realize your big project has stalled, and progress has come to a halt. What do you do?

    Your first lifeline is the vendor’s “Contact Us” button on their website. A chat window opens up immediately with customer support on the other end. An agent works through the issue with you online, and suddenly the project is back underway. You breathe a deep sigh of relief.

    What you don’t know is that the customer support agent only speaks English and was seamlessly interacting with you, even though your native language is Chinese. The communication was so seamless you weren’t even aware that a language gap existed. Somehow, it just worked.   What you did know, however, is that, had immediate assistance from customer support not been available, you would likely be looking for a new vendor for future business.

    The lesson learned is simple.  Today’s business demands that companies of all types need to be able to respond and support their global customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  That means that customer service personnel must be able to provide that support to customers regardless of their native language and time zone. 

    The challenge with that type of customer service and support is that neither native speakers or human translation are viable solution, both from a cost, response-time and scalability standpoint. Can machine translation solve this problem effectively?

    As experts in translation and localization services, we at Lionbridge understood that while automatic translation provided the immediacy necessary to keep up with the translation demands of user-generated content, business clients demanded more.  Translations had to at least be actionable and understandable even if they weren’t perfect.

    The list of challenges that needed to be addressed to make automatic translation valid for these customer support scenarios were numerous. Some of the biggest hurdles included:  

    1. Typos and Slang - With user-generated content, people tend to take shortcuts and write in a less formal and more conversational manner resulting in typos, slang, shorthand and industry-centric language. While this is common, it is problematic for translation systems to identify and fix appropriately.  
    2. Chat Client - Each customer had a customized version of the chat client that implies any translation solution needed to integrate into their existing workflow and products.  
    3. Global Search– Monolingual search in forum and community sites is much different than multilingual search from both a search criteria and results perspective.  Finding an approach that is intuitive for the end user had to be a primary focus.

    For this reason, we developed GeoFluent, a real-time automated translation solution designed to meet the needs of business clients in a scalable and cost effective manner. Building on Microsoft Translator as the  underlying automatic translation service, GeoFluent provides an additional configuration layer that enables real-time conversations and content sharing with users who speak, read and write different languages. It is easily integrated into customer’s existing
    chat and community applications. 

    We took these above mentioned challenges into account when developing GeoFluent. This SaaS-based application delivers the features that businesses require, including:

    • Masking personally identifiable information during the translation process.
    • Protecting company, brand and product names so that the right corporate image is delivered in any language.
    • Building company glossaries and systems to provide preferred translations to accommodate corporate, industry and locale-specific terminology through use of the Translator Hub.
    • Adding layers of linguistic processing to remove slang, typos, grammatical and punctuation errors from source material and provide support for regional variants of languages.

    A successful machine translation experience must be seamless, actionable, and timely. GeoFluent makes this makes this possible for the demanding needs of customer service organizations to support a global customer base.

    To learn more about how GeoFluent solutions are leveraging Microsoft Translator, go to:

    GeoFluent Video

    GeoFluent Partner Page

     

    By Greg Belkin

    Director, Product Marketing

    Lionbridge Technologies

    www.lionbridge.com

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Microsoft Translator API now supports OData, pricing details for higher volumes announced

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    Microsoft President Satya Nadella announced major new milestones for the Translator API at his BUILD conference keynote today. We would like to provide some additional detail about the announcement here.

    The headlines:

    1. Microsoft Translator API available via the Windows Azure Marketplace at various volume levels to meet your needs
    2. Reiterating our support for standards by supporting OData and adding standards based (OAuth) authentication for greater security
    3. Publishing the pricing model for the various subscription tiers to best fit your needs (in addition to the free tier that we currently offer)

    Starting today developers can directly sign up for the Microsoft Translator service on the Windows Azure Marketplace at the level of volume they expect to use. Windows Azure Marketplace is the one stop shop for cloud data, apps and services and we are pleased to utilize this platform to deliver the Translator API to developers.  Provisioning the Microsoft Translator API through the Marketplace allows us to deliver the service at higher volumes than we previously could offer, along with the facility to upgrade to higher volume on demand. Additionally, the Marketplace provides a world-class ecommerce back-end which enables us to better serve our global Translator partners and grow with demand.

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    We are also pleased to announce the addition of OData to our already diverse set of interfaces (SOAP, HTTP & AJAX) to the Microsoft Translator service. Once you subscribe to the offer on Azure Marketplace, you can explore the Odata end point by using the Service Explorer. Starting now, developers are also able to use standards based two-leg authentication (OAuth) to secure calls to API (irrespective of the end point they are using). The full details are available in our developer documentation.

     

    Service Explorer

    In response to the tremendous demand from existing as well as new partners that wish to utilize a reliable, consistently available, and developer friendly service, we are also pleased to announce pricing for higher volume usage today. In addition to a no-cost tier that is designed for low-volume and hobbyist use, you can today subscribe to higher volume tiers at an attractive price point. You can subscribe to tiers ranging from 4M (million) characters a month onwards, priced at US $10 per million characters. As an introductory offer, we are also announcing a 120 day (4 month) promotional free trial on all paid subscriptions for a limited time. We hope this would allow you to use the service and determine the volume level you would need for your scenario. Existing licensees and users of our API are not affected by this announcement and will have plenty of notice to prepare for the eventual transition onto the unified Marketplace based platform. Please refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for more details.

    Nearly five years ago, we first said “hello world” on this blog. Since then, thanks to an ever increasing user base and enthusiastic developer and business partners we have come a long way. As a team of researchers and engineers at Microsoft Research, we continue to strive to deliver value to Microsoft partners and users worldwide by combining research investments with product development. In addition to our the API, we also provide translation experiences through Bing Translator – our consumer focused webpage and text translation site, through Office, Bing Bar, Internet Explorer and much more. Please don’t hesitate to send us your feedback, comments and questions. We have vibrant user and developer communities where you can discuss the service or ask for help. For questions that aren’t answered in the FAQ or the community, you can also email us at mtcont@microsoft.com (for general comments), or at mtlic@microsoft.com (for specific licensing questions). Please direct any press inquires to mtcont@microsoft.com.

    We hope to see you soon from the other side of a translation request!

    Vikram Dendi
    Director of Product Management
    Microsoft Translator

    Updated (9/22): Clarification added to title that the free tier of service is not going away.

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Multilingual App Toolkit 3.1 Launched – Localize Your App, Extend Your Reach

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    Today, the Multilingual App Toolkit (MAT) team announced the release of MAT 3.1. The Multilingual App Toolkit integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio to provide Windows Store apps and Windows Phone apps with translation support powered, translation file management, and editor tools powered by Microsoft Translator.

    This release provides several key fixes as well as new and improved features including:

    • Visual Studio Online builds
    • Expanded import, export and recycling
    • Improved translation and suggestion results
    • As well as a number of key fixes

    The MAT team really focused on key features as well as addressing both reported and non-reported issues in this release. A huge congratulations to the MAT team and their great work delivering this latest release!

    Please note that due to updates to the setup process, you will need to perform a one-time uninstall of MAT v3.0 or earlier before installing v3.1.

    Get Started Using MAT Today

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Microsoft Sponsors AMTA 2014

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    Microsoft is proud to be a major sponsor of AMTA 2014. The conference, held from October 22-26 in Vancouver, BC, is a great opportunity to hear about the most current developments and trends in Machine Translation (aka Automatic Translation) and to meet and share your ideas with people deeply involved in and passionate about it.

    The main conference, October 23-25, is organized into three tracks you can select sessions from: Research, Commercial, and Government. In addition to the main conference, a series of three-hour tutorials and full-day workshops will be presented on Wednesday (October 22) and Sunday (October 26).

    For more information on the conference and venue and to register visit http://amta2014.amtaweb.org.

    We hope to see you in Vancouver!

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Quicker and Cheaper Localization with the Multilingual App Toolkit

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    Want to make your app available to a worldwide audience? Don’t want to spend a lot of money and time doing it? In this new video from Channel 9’s CodeChat, Jeremy Foster discusses the Multilingual App Toolkit (MAT) with Cameron Lerum and Jan Nelson from the MAT team.

    MAT is a free technology powered by Microsoft Translator’s automatic translation engine which makes localization painless-- whether you are adding the language features to a Windows, Windows Phone, or traditional desktop app. Check out the full video below to discover all of the cool features of the MAT, and immediately take advantage of greater reach in today’s global marketplace.

    For more information on the Multilingual App Toolkit, you can also click here.

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