Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

News and Views from the Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Team in Microsoft Research.

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    IE8 Translation Activity

    • 8 Comments

    Our friends over in the Internet Explorer building recently released a developer preview version of IE8.

    MSIE8

    There are a lot of interesting features in IE8 developer beta 1, ranging from improved standards compatibility to improving security through elegant tweaks to the address bar. Web slices, improved Favorites bar and the developer toolbar are some other welcome additions to the feature set.

    The Activities feature in IE8 is a great way for users to access various web services in a single click. We are very excited to deliver translations through the Translation activity for IE8. If you don't already have it available through the activities menu you can get it (along with other great activities) from here.

    IE8ActivityCapture

    For a detailed review on the Translation activity, and to hear it in "non product manager speak", you can check out Helvecio's blog post here. You can download the developer preview IE8 from here. More information on newer releases and other features is available at the IE team blog.

    We look forward to hearing about your experiences with the Translation activity for IE8.

    Happy Translating!

    Vikram

    Vikram works on Incubation Strategy for Microsoft Research Machine Translation team
  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    To Bot or not to Bot (IM Translation)

    • 27 Comments

    Did you know that MSN messenger recently became* is the number one instant messenger in the world? Last summer, thanks to the efforts of Helvecio on our team, the MTBot prototype project quietly launched – to provide a glimpse to the community of 28.6 million unique messenger users what might be possible when you combine machine translation technology with instant messaging.

    The MTBot prototype project was released in May 2007 with the main goal to try to understand how useful  machine translation would be in IM conversations. The bot acts as a human translator, participating in conferences and translating messages as they are sent by all parties.

    A typical usage scenario would be something like this: let's assume you have a friend in Japan that does not speak English... Well, you would add MTBot-en_us@hotmail.com to your Live messenger buddy list, wait until the bot accepts your request (by switching status to Online) and then you would start your conversation by sending the "Hello" message... The Bot is going to wake up, and display a list of languages - enter "ja" for Japanese. Once it gets a valid connection the Bot will tell you to invite your friend to join the conversation. That's it... From this point on, everything you type will be translated from English to Japanese, and everything your friend types will be translated from Japanese to English.

    Another typical use is as portable translator: using Messenger from any Smartphone a user can translate simple sentences when traveling to other countries.

    MTBot conversation screenshot

    MT bot prototype screenshot

    As with any prototype effort, do keep in mind that this is experimental and there is a possibility the bot might be offline from time to time. The usual caveats about the quality of machine translation also apply.

    We always appreciate your feedback and suggestions – so feel free to do so on this thread.

    Cheers!

    Vikram

     * Update: The link pointing to the data on Messenger becoming the most used IM client is from around when (2003-04) it first claimed that crown. Messenger has continued that trend since then. (Thanks to our keen eyed readers for catching that one!)

    Vikram works on Incubation Strategy for Microsoft Research Machine Translation team
  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    New on the Windows Live Gallery: The Toolbar Translator Button!

    • 17 Comments

    Translator Now available: The Windows Live Toolbar Translator Button!

    So many people said: I wish I had a simple button to translate a web page when I need it! Imagine: you browse for the latest digital camera information and before you know it, you end up on a Japanese web page and you don’t understand what it says. Did you bookmark the URL to a web page translator? Wouldn’t it be convenient to just get an English translation of this Japanese site with a simple mouse click?

    If it happened to you before that your browsing experience crossed over to a specific language, your Windows Live Toolbar button will remember the last language you needed a translation for. E.g. if it was from Japanese to English, a simple click on your button will now give you an English translation in our unique bilingual view along-side the Japanese original site. If you are, however, not in need of a Japanese-->English translation, but landed on a – say - French site, you can easily adjust the language selection in the bilingual viewer’s language drop down box. Or: you can expand the little downward arrow next to the toolbar button: cid:image002.png@01C82081.5EC49270 and choose which language selection you would like to see applied when the button is clicked:

    With this toolbar button, web page translations are literally only a mouse click away. It doesn’t get much easier than that!! Try it out.

    Cheers - Andrea (Your friendly neighborhood Translator PM :-))

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Translate This and Translate My Page Functionality with Windows Live Translator

    • 15 Comments

    Every now and then I look at visitor logs on the various personal and professional sites/blogs that I administer. It makes for a fascinating experience to see the many places worldwide that visitors come from. I have often wondered about non English speakers and how I could make my writing more accessible to them. While some professional and company web sites have translated versions available, in many user forums and communities across the web there have been requests for a translated version of the pages/posts. Today, on many sites, I have to copy the text on the site, paste it into a translator and look at the translation. It is cumbersome and not very seamless in an otherwise smooth navigation experience.

    I am very pleased to say Windows Live Translator solved this problem with the latest feature addition that rolled out this week. Now on the Live Translator home page you will find a new link  "Add the web page Translator to your site". By clicking on this link you go to a page that offers snippets of code that can be added to individual web pages for which you wish to offer translations.

    The code generator will create the appropriate widget depending on the source language of your site. Refer to the Live Translator introduction post where Andrea listed the language pairs that we currently support.

    So here is what you do to have a link on your web page to translate it:

    Step 1: Click on the Add the web page Translator to your site link

    Step 2: Select the language your web page is written in (source language)

    Widget

    For example: Since all the articles on my blog are in English, I choose English as the source language

    Step 3: The code that you need to copy and paste into your web page's HTML is generated in the box

    For example: Since I chose English, the code that is generated looks like this

    <script type="text/javascript" src=http://translator.live.com/TranslatePageLink.aspx?pl=en></script>

    Step 4: Copy that code and paste it into the page that should offer translation.

    For example: On my blog say I want the blog post I wrote about Live Translator to be translated, I go into the blog editor and paste it like so:

     PasteIntoHTML

    If the blog or web page uses templates, one could also paste the code into a template - thereby providing the Translate This Page widget on all pages

    Step 5: Enjoy an expanded (and hopefully more appreciative) audience!

    The end result on my blog looks like this in the case of a single post translation:

     Single Page Translate

    The end result looks like this if I put it in the template (this allows for translation of every post):

    SidebarTranslateWidget

    For the more technically minded here is some more information on the parameters that the Live Translator accepts:

    http://www.windowslivetranslator.com/BV.aspx?lp=en_fr&a=http://viks.org

    where lp is the language pair (such as en_fr for english to french) for source and target languages. a is the URL you want translated. 

    The Windows Live focused community site ViaWindowsLive is making creative use of the Live Translator to make their site available in multiple languages (look on the left bottom of the page). I would love to check out how you might be utilize this new feature. Feel free to post a link to your site in the comments.

    -Vikram

    Edit: Updating the parameters link

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    New Live Search and Translation Results Integration

    • 3 Comments

    Have you tried the new Windows Live Search? I have been using it as the default search on all my computers at work and home (10+ of them) and am very impressed by the improvements. While all the great new features are quite excellent, I am very pleased with the quality (relevance) of the search results themselves. The rollout was gradual, and most of you should be seeing the new search by now. If not, both the Live Search blogs have direct links to the various features.

    On that note, here is some search related news for you from Andrea, your friendly neighborhood program manager for the Windows Live Translator Beta:

    --

    Windows Live Translator Beta is now directly integrated in the newest version of Live Search. What does this mean? When a search result (i.e. web page) has been found in a language which is different than the user’s language, and the Live Translator can translate from the web page’s  into the user’s language, the search result is accompanied by a new link: “Translate this page”

    clip_image001

    (User language = English; web page language of all 4 search results = Spanish; translation offered: from Spanish to English)

    A click on this link opens the found web page in Bilingual Viewer mode, allowing the user to see the original web page and its translations with all enhancements described in our previous blog entry.

    You may ask: how does Live Search know “my” language? Generally, your system settings provide this information. You can change your language settings either in your browser which will influence the behavior of all language(or “market)-sensitive web sites, or you can define a “Display Language” just for your Live Search experience. Live Search’s “Options” menu allows you to select your preferred language in which the Live Search user interface will be displayed to you.

    clip_image002

    If you choose to select a display language there, it will henceforth be considered “your” language. Any web page found by Live Search that is in a different language from yours may be shown with a “Translate this page” link, provided that translations from the page language into your (selected) language are available. (Please see our introduction blog entry for a list of translation languages we currently offer).

    --

    That was Andrea, giving you the scoop on what to expect with the new search integration. 

    Many times, I find myself searching for deeper meanings for cryptic error codes that programs often throw up. Some other times I find myself searching for any information that might be gleaned about the latest Tablet PCs. These searches tend to turn up sites in other languages with potentially useful information. The new "translate this" integration into search is now a feature that I cannot live without.

    Have fun searching and translating!

    - Vikram

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