I wanted to post a quick note welcoming Lane, who will be bringing you updates (more regularly than before) about what’s new and exciting in our team. Welcome Lane!
On that note, Lane and Andrea were at the MSR Silicon Valley Road Show event showing off our products and technology. Robert Scoble from Fastcompany has a video:
While still on the topic of videos – some of you might have missed news coverage from CNET News a little while back. We are covered in the last one and half minutes of this video.
Microsoft Research’s Machine Translation (MSR-MT) group has been among the leading research organizations in the machine translation space for over 8 years, and some of the foundational work in natural language processing at MSR began over 16 years ago. The team’s approach to machine translation integrates linguistic features with state-of-the-art statistical machine translation algorithms. The team’s focus has always been on automatically acquiring translation knowledge from bilingual corpora, i.e., parallel data consisting of original source language sentences and their corresponding translations by human translators. About 3 years ago, the team’s focus shifted from a purely rule-based approach to this task toward a hybrid approach that includes extensive statistical processing, allowing for greater scalability across domains and into new languages.
Microsoft’s Machine Translation technology was first developed for in-house localization purposes, to allow our Customer Support organization to publish technical support documents with a frequency and language breadth that would have been prohibitively expensive using human translators. With all of Microsoft’s previously human-translated documents and localized software at its disposal, the MT team was able automatically to train its statistical MT engine to achieve quite good quality in the technical domain. This technology was extended to support the Windows localization team, the Developer Division, MSDN, and several other groups within Microsoft. It has also allowed Microsoft to reach many more customers than would have ever been possible using human translation alone.
After focusing on Microsoft’s own translation needs, the team began to build a scalable web service that would allow it to provide translation services to the general public, as a standalone tool on the web, and as a feature within other products. Given that the Microsoft MT engine has been trained most heavily on technical data, it has not yet been tuned for translating text in other subject domains. However, we hope to continue improving the quality and breadth of the engine. We look forward to sharing our developments with you over the coming months on this blog.
Thanks for the intro, Vikram! I'm the new marketing communications manager for the Machine Translation team in MSR, and I'm really excited to be a part of the team! I'm looking forward to sharing some of the great new improvements to the service that the team is working on, as well as hearing comments from the readers of this blog.
A little background on me: I'm a former techie who's been in the marketing world for the past 4 years (specifically working with Microsoft's OEM partners). Before that I was in grad school for Computer Science at the University of Florida. I'm happy to be working closely with developers again, especially on such a cool product.
As Vikram mentioned, I'm going to start blogging more regularly on behalf of the team. Expect monthly posts, as well as one-off posts as new things come up that I want to share with you.
We have a lot of catching up to do in terms of features that have gone live in the past few months, so expect a busy week of blogging! Looking forward to hearing from all of you!
There are some exciting new changes happening in the world of Social Enterprise. Earlier today Yammer announced key localization updates across its web client, mobile apps, and the Yammer Success Center, that will improve communication within your organization.
Yammer is taking localization a step further following last year’s announcement of localization support and is introducing message translation in both the iOS and Android Yammer apps, powered by Microsoft Translator®. Whenever a Yammer conversation in these apps includes a language different from the user’s default language setting, a translate button will appear below the initial post. Clicking translate will instantly convert the entire conversation, including related responses, into the user’s default language. Clicking “show original text” will revert the conversation back to the initial language(s).
Check out the full announcement with all of the new features posted here and try these localizations improvements out for yourself!
Simplified Chinese and Spanish General Domain engines complete
Last time I blogged about launching the English to Spanish language pair using our own Microsoft technology - our team has made great progress since then. We've completed the Spanish bidirectional pair with Spanish to English, and launching Simplified Chinese both to and from English. We're going to keep adding languages in the coming months as one of our top priorities, so keep an eye out on this blog for the languages you're most interested in. Let us know in the comments which languages you're looking for!
Coming soon: Windows Live Messenger TBot & Office Integration!