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  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Bing Translator Plugin for WordPress Enables Webmasters and Developers to Localize Site Content

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    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has released a new Bing Translator plugin that lets you apply the power of Bing Translator to any WordPress site running version 3.8 or later.

    Using the plugin, visitors can translate a site into any of the 40+ supported languages in one click without leaving the page once this light-weight, cross-browser plugin is installed. This plugin also provides options for a setting a color scheme, as well as an option to allow visitors to suggest translations.

    The Bing Translator plugin should be installed from within the WordPress Dashboard by clicking on Plugins >Add New and search for "Bing Translator” and works on any WordPress site. A site developer can also manually install the plugin by downloading it from WordPress.org, then adding the “bing-translator” folder in the “/wp-content/plugins/” directory.

    Using Bing Translator Plugin for WordPress Video

    More Links to Get Started

    Congratulations to Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc team for their great work on the Bing Translator Plugin for WordPress! 

  • 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

    Breakthroughs in Translating Speech from our Research Teams

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    This is the year of machine learning and big data. Whether it is predicting political results, supercharging your Excel spreadsheets, helping map queries to intent in Search, or even customizing a translation engine to best fit your content – these research areas are playing a starring role in transforming technology and productivity.

    A couple of weeks back, at the 14th annual Computing in the 21st Century Conference, attendees saw a glimpse of where else these technologies are taking us – and loved it. Rick Rashid, who heads up Microsoft Research worldwide, went up on stage and in the span of eight sentences, got the 2000+ strong crowd up on their feet and cheering. It was a moment where technology was indistinguishable from magic – and one that would spur science fiction writers to start thinking of bigger challenges for researchers to tackle :)

    Watch the video to see for yourself:

     

     

    A combination of powerful technologies were employed to make this amazing demonstration possible: Deep Neural Network based processing combined with high performance computing allowed a significant jump in accuracy of speech recognition. The Microsoft Translator technology that you use each day was customized to best fit Rick’s speech content. New speech synthesis technology that allows personalization of acoustic characteristics was able to create “Rick’s voice” in a language he does not speak. You can read Rick’s blog post here.

    Some of these technologies are already available today, especially the industry-leading translation (Microsoft Translator) with customization capabilities (Translator Hub). If you are a Windows Phone user, you have been enjoying the most innovative translation app on any phone for over a year now, which includes an early speech translation experience that has been tuned for travel situations. The audio output that you hear on Bing Translator website uses some of the newer speech synthesis engines coming out of our Speech research. Deep-Neural-Net research is also behind our audio/video indexing service – MAVIS, which is available commercially.

    The excitement that has been rippling across the web in response to this demonstration is an indicator of how much everyone wants to experience this ‘magic’. There is much work to do, but you will see the benefits of this amazing research in our products in our future releases.

    Vikram Dendi
    Director
    Microsoft/Bing Translator & Microsoft Research

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Ready to Reenergize: Community Unveiling of the Custom Mayan to Spanish Translation System

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    Special guest post from Microsoft Research Connections Director Kristin Tolle, who has been working with the Mayan community to enable them to preserve their language. Microsoft Translator Hub provides a means for communities and businesses to build custom language translation systems.

    At X’Caret, the Mayan eco-archaeological park in Carmen Del playa, the Rector of the Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo, Professor Francisco Rosado-May and I along with Governor of Quintara Roo, Roberto Borge Angulo, unveiled the custom Mayan to Spanish translation system to demonstrate it to the community on December 21st, 2012—a date that coincided with the end of the 13th b’ak’tun and the beginning of the 14th. A fitting beginning for the Mayan-Spanish translation system.

    I mentioned what an honor it is in a Microsoft Research Connections blog to work with local communities to create new translation models. What is special about the Microsoft Translator Hub is that it enables this capability “at home” by putting the power of developing a translation system into the hands of the organizations that care about it the most—the communities themselves.

    An organization’s small data can be combined with our big data for the major languages to aid in the training of a new system—keeping it in use for coming generations or as the Mayans say, b’ak’tun. This is incredibly important to culture and language preservation as Carlos Allende, Public Sector Director Microsoft México explains, “The Microsoft Translator Hub is Microsoft’s contribution to worldwide cultures. In Mexico we are proud that this incredible technology is displayed for celebrating the Mayan Katun for keeping this language alive and allowing the next generation to have access to this millenarian knowledge.”

    It takes a great deal of effort to build a translation model between two languages. One of the features of the Microsoft Translator Hub is that one can do this directly—create a translation model between two languages without having to go through a “pivot” language (usually English). And this is what the local university, Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo, has set out to do; to translate from Mayan to Spanish and vice versa.

    The process began in May of this year when the Rector of the University, Professor Francisco Rosado-May, met with us at the LATAM Faculty Summit held in Cancun to discuss how it might be possible for his institution to work on Yucatec, a local Mayan dialect, as well as other related languages.

    “The Translator Hub by Microsoft is not only a powerful software that facilitates the proper communication between Maya and Spanish but it is also a very important tool to achieve one of the strategic goals of our university: to preserve and increase the use of Maya,” said Professor Rosado-May who went on to explain the significance of language preservation, “Language is the genetic code of any culture, by understanding and using a lot more Maya, we also understand better the mental processes that trigger the construction of knowledge. In the case of Maya, that means understanding how they created sophisticated knowledge such as the zero, astronomy, mathematics, etc. This is why my University and I appreciate so much what Microsoft is doing with the Translator Hub.”

    What is being unveiled today is a result of the hard work of linguistics professor, Martin Equival-Pat, his students, local language experts and the support of the local government agencies and Microsoft Mexico. Through their work the university has been able to build a Spanish to Yucatec and Yucatec to Spanish translation system that is just the beginning. As Rosado-May goes on to elaborate, “I expect that the hub will play an important role for the years to come in positioning the Maya language in the global world. We might be witnessing something special for the Baktuns ahead of us and contributing to one of the most important dreams all over the world: live in peace by understanding each other better, and recognizing that different cultures and different languages are important for peace.”

    Microsoft Mexico fully supports this project and is comitted to the Mayan society. As Juan Alberto González Esparza, General Director Microsoft México explains, “Think for a moment of a situation where a Spanish speaker and a Maya person communicate with one another in their own languages using a computer or a phone. This is the world that Microsoft has imagined and now this is a reality thanks the Microsoft Translator HUB-Maya; that brings to the new age the Mayan language with all its culture, meanings, stories and lifestyle that will be preserved and available to everyone worldwide. This is the way we are generating a real impact in vulnerable communities connecting people with the potential of our technology.”

    As we entered into the 14th b’ak’tun on December 22nd energized and engaged; the possibilities for the impact of the Hub and the impact of language preservation throughout the world are limitless.

    - Kristin Tolle
    Director, Natural User Interactions Team
    Microsoft Research Connections

     

     

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Building an ASP.NET Web App with the Microsoft Translator Widget and API

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    Microsoft Translator offers great tools for web developers. With the Microsoft Translator Widget you can add translation to all of the content of your site, giving the user control over what language they read your site in.

     

    With the Microsoft Translator API you can get access to our service allowing you to translate any user generated or other text. In this walkthrough you’ll learn how to use both of these, adding a widget to the master page of an ASP.NET site, as well as how to sign up for the translator API and use it in your ASP.NET code.

    The walkthrough takes you through everything you need to know, including where and how to get the free Visual Studio tools for web developers, signing up for the API, generating a widget and writing the code that you need to access the API.  

    You can read the complete walk through here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/translation/p/webapptranslator.aspx

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