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  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Skype Translator Preview Releasing Support for Two New Languages and Updated Client Application

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    Today, we are releasing updates to Skype Translator Preview including two new languages, Chinese and Italian. The updated app also has new features to help make speech to speech translation even easier such as continuous speech recognition and automatic volume control.

    Here is a full list of updates to the new and improved Skype Translator Preview:

    • Two new languages: Chinese Mandarin and Italian
      Skype Translator now speaks Chinese and Italian, in addition to Spanish and English.

    • Text to speech translation
      Hear the instant messages of your partner, translated or not. This is especially useful in noisy places where you can't talk.

    • Continuous recognition
      See the recognized text as you are speaking. No need to wait for a pause anymore.

    • Automatic volume control
      Your partner can speak while the translation is still going on. You will hear the translation at full volume, and your partner at a lower volume, so that you can still follow the translation. This helps to create a more fluent and dynamic conversation.

    • Mute option for translated voice
      If you would rather just read the transcript, and use Skype Translator as a real-time subtitling tool, there is now an option to easily turn the translated audio on or off, depending on your preference.

    • Deep Neural Networks in translation
      The technique of applying deep neural networks to speech recognition has drastically improved the recognition quality. We have applied this technique to translation as well.

    Read more about these updates on the Skype blog, and be sure to sign up at try out the new features yourself at www.skype.com/translator.

    To learn more about the work the Microsoft Research Asia team did behind the scenes to help support Chinese in this release, check out this video.


    Learn More about Skype Translator:

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Building Windows 8 Store Apps Using Microsoft Translator

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    The Microsoft Translator API is a hosted API that allows you to add machine translation to your app. It fully supports Windows Store Apps, so if you want to add localization to these apps, doing so is as easy as subscribing to and using the API. We’ve built out step-by-step instructions and assets that demonstrates how to do this this, showing a C#/XAML based app, built for the Windows 8 Store, which uses the MVVM design pattern.

    Getting Started Guides and Assets:

    Build a Twitter App with Translations

    Want to know what people are saying about the latest product release or global news event across the world in 40+ languages? The Twitter app allows you to search for tweets that match a search term, and when those tweets are in a non-English language, it will translate them for you directly over the top of the existing text. We’ve also made the full code for the application available for you to download. The links above with provide you with the walkthroughs and assets to get started. 

    View of Twitter App with Translations:

     

    Close-up of one of the tweets, showing the translation:

    clip_image003

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Summer Interns Singing a Happy Tune with Song Translator App

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    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’s
    labor: 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

     

    Click here to play this video

     How to Use the Song Translator

    1. Download the app
    2. Unzip the project
    3. Install the Nuget package for the Mobile Service
    4. Open the configurations file and input credentials

    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.

    .

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Skype Translator Introduces Speech-to-Speech Translation in French and German

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    Today, Skype Translator introduces speech-to-speech translation for French and German. Skype Translator users can now make translated calls in near real time in 6 different languages: Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Additionally, Skype Translator can be used to IM in all 50 languages supported by Microsoft Translator. If you have Windows 8 or above, you can download Skype Translator to try them out for yourself at www.skype.com/translator. Don't forget that you only need to have Skype Translator installed on your computer to make a call-- your friends and family can receive translated calls on almost any device running Skype.

    In the time since Skype Translator launched, it has connected people throughout the world and helped break down the communication barriers that separate us. In Latin America, the organization Pro Mujer uses Skype Translator to provide low income women in Latin America with vital financial, health, and human development services-- helping them to become financially independent, healthy, and leaders in their communities. In China, it has helped foreign nationals work and converse.

    Using speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies, Skype Translator has proved to not only bridge the language gap, but the accessibility gap as well. Our team has found that Skype Translator can be a new and powerful communication tool for the deaf and hard of hearing. Watch the video below to see how it has already been used by one of our colleagues in a very personal and meaningful way.



    To learn how to set up the accessibility features in Skype Translator, click on your preferred language below:


    Read more about these updates on the Skype blog .

    Learn More about Skype Translator:

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Microsoft Translator Introduces Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi for UNESCO's International Mother Language Day

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    In our ongoing effort to empower language communities to preserve their languages and cultures, we are excited to introduce Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi to Microsoft Translator’s ever-growing list of supported languages. These language systems were developed in collaboration with community partners in Mexico, who created the automatic translations systems to permanently bridge the translation gap between these endangered languages and the rest of the world. The systems themselves were built using the Microsoft Translator Hub, a Translator product which is available for free to allow any group to create its own unique translation systems.

    Photo courtesy of Instituto Querestano de la Cultura y las Artes

    Using the Hub, our community partners took important steps to preserve their language and culture. The Yucatec Maya translation system was built by the Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo (UIMQROO), a university in the southwestern Mexican state of Quintana Roo that was created to provide higher education to the Maya population of the region. Native to the Yucatan region of Mexico and Belize, Yucatec Maya is spoken by fewer than 800,000 people, with less than 59,000 monolingual speakers. The language is descended from the language of the ancient Mayan empire, which is well-known for its art, architecture, as well as its expertise in astronomy.

    The Querétaro Otomi language system was created by the Instituto Queretano de la Cultura y las Artes (IQCA), an institute in western central Mexico whose mission is to encourage artistic and cultural development and to promote equity and equality of opportunity within the State of Querétaro. Querétaro Otomi is an endangered language from the region that is only spoken by 33,000 people and has fewer than 2,000 monolingual speakers.

    The release of Maya and Otomi helps to celebrate the UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day, an annual international event which aims “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.” According to UNESCO, “if nothing is done, half of 6,000-plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century.” Maya and Otomi are indigenous languages from Mexico which are both currently threatened. Although they are still in use, the number of speakers is decreasing and younger people are not speaking them as actively as their elders. The new automatic translation systems will help the Maya and Otomi people safeguard their language and culture for generations to come.

    Over the years, Translator has worked closely with a variety of language community partners to encourage language preservation and, through it, intercultural communication. In the past, these community partners have used the Hub to create translation systems for languages such as Hmong Daw, Welsh, and Urdu.

    The Hub allows organizations such as UIMQROO and IQCA to leverage the computing power of Microsoft Translator’s machine-learning back end as well as its existing translation models to create unique and customized translation systems. The Translator Hub is a powerful tool for organizations that have specific translation needs, such as language preservation. It also allows organizations to create domain-specific systems, including industry-specific translation systems (for instance, for the medical or financial sectors) and business-specific systems that are customized to the company’s internal style and terminology.

    In addition to the Hub, Translator also supports a wide variety of products to connect individuals across language barriers, including the Translator API, which can be used to translate web pages and apps in real time into 45+ languages, as well as powering the translation features in the Microsoft Office suite of products. Most recently, Microsoft Translator and Skype introduced Skype Translator, a next–generation speech-to-speech translation platform which allows users to converse in different languages in near-real time.

    To learn more about International Mother Language Day, and what Microsoft is doing to support technology on this front, please visit the Official Microsoft Blog.

    Learn More about the Translator Hub and Language Preservation:

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