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 Beta 2 - Translation Accelerator

    • 38 Comments

    Last week the Internet Explorer team announced the Beta 2 release of IE8 (you can download it here).  This is great news for users of translation services, because IE8 incorporates translation directly into your browsing experience!  No need to cut and paste text from the site you are viewing into our landing page.  You now have ready access to the service – from any page you visit!  Now you can simply select some text and then click on the blue Accelerators icon. With the "Translate with Windows Live" Accelerator in Internet Explorer 8, you can get an in-place translation of the selected text displayed directly on the page.

    Here's how it works:

    Select a block of text on a web page:

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    See the blue arrow that now hovers on the page – click on it:

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    You have a few options here – if you hover over the menu item “Translate with Windows Live”, you will see an instant preview of the translated text (you can also change your language here):

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    If you click on the menu item instead of hovering over, you'll be taken to the Translator main page and the text will be translated there. Note that the URL text box is pre-populated with the page you were browsing before, so if you decide to translate the whole page all you have to do is click the button

    Other options:

    · Without selecting any text, right-click anywhere in the page and click on the menu item. Your web page will be directed to the bilingual viewer, and begin to be translated.

    · Select a hyperlink, right click to invoke the menu and click on 'Translate with Windows Live'. The hyperlinked target page will be directed to the bilingual viewer, and begin to be translated.

    Enjoy! Please let us know your feedback on the experience. 

  • 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

    Translator app now available for Windows Phone 8

    • 23 Comments

    The free Bing Translator app for Windows Phone continues to be one of the most popular and best reviewed applications for the Windows Phone – surpassing a million downloads and garnering average ratings between 4 and 5 stars since release. Combining Augmented Reality Translation using your camera, speech & text translation, word-of-the-day live tiles and a travel optimized offline mode the app has received rave reviews and has been highlighted as one of the most innovative translation apps on any platform.

    Appstore

    For the past few weeks the team has been heads down getting the app ready and tested for the new phones running Windows Phone 8, and we are pleased to announce that owners of the new Windows Phone devices are now able to download the app from the App Store.

    You can download from the marketplace here.

    As a Windows Phone 8 user, you will also discover a new translator “lens” whenever you launch your camera – allowing you to quickly access the camera mode translation functionality of the app.

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    For those of you who are new to the app, here is a behind-the-scenes look:

    Video: New Translator App for Windows Phone Powered by Bing Available for Free Download
    Translator for Windows Phone
     

    We hope you find the app useful as you navigate an increasingly multilingual universe.

    - Vikram Dendi,
    Director of Product Management,
    Microsoft/Bing Translator

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Indonesian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese are now available!

    • 21 Comments

    What do Ukrainian, Vietnamese and Indonesian have in common? They all have very passionate communities that have for a while been encouraging our team to add support for these languages. A glance at the comments on this blog, and on our forums show the enthusiasm with which users have pursued adding these languages, and that has spurred our team on to work hard towards this goal.

    We are proud to announce that with our latest release, we added these three languages to bring our total number languages to 35. The Microsoft Translator machine translation system can now deliver translations in the following languages:

    Arabic French Latvian Swedish
    Bulgarian German Lithuanian Thai
    Chinese Simplified Greek Norwegian Turkish
    Chinese Traditional Haitian Creole Polish Ukrainian
    Czech Hebrew Portuguese Vietnamese
    Danish Hungarian Romanian  
    Dutch Indonesian Russian  
    English Italian Slovak  
    Estonian Japanese Slovenian  
    Finnish Korean Spanish  

    This means that you can use the Bing Translator text and web page translation functionality in all these languages.

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    You can also translate text and documents between these languages from within Office. To see these languages in your Office translation language list, you would need to have the LIP (Language Interface Pack) for that language installed. More details here.

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    Personally, I am quite excited at being able to follow what my friends are saying in these languages on Facebook and Twitter (by using the visual preview of the Internet Explorer accelerator)!

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    Finally, you can also deliver your web pages to your site users using the Microsoft Translator widget. Not only that, with the collaborative translations feature you can tailor the translations to best suit your content. You can try it on this blog right now – translate to a different language, hover to see the popup that shows the original sentence and click “More Translations” to edit/select the translation to be delivered.

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    We continually work on improving all our languages, so if you notice the engine not providing the best translation today – you might want to try again in a few weeks to see if it’s improved. For those of you using the API or the widget to translate content in your applications or on the web, you can always use the collaborative translations functionality to make edits to the machine generated translations today (so you don’t have to wait).

    Once again, if you are part of our one of these three communities – congratulations on working with us to “ship” these new languages! We will continue working towards adding more languages in upcoming releases.

    We will look forward to hearing from you (please email us at mtcont@microsoft.com). You can also interact with the community on our forums.

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Translation powered by....Microsoft Translator!

    • 20 Comments

    image

    Our team is celebrating a major milestone today - last week we successfully transitioned all of our translation services to technology developed right here in Microsoft Research! 

    As some of you may have noticed, up until last week, some of our languages were still supported by a third party technology for general domain requests.  Here's the summary of what this release means:

    • Translation now fully powered by the Microsoft Translator technology is available through Live Search, as well as IE8, the Windows Live Toolbar, and Windows Live Messenger.
    • All translation pairs on the site (11 English-X, 12 X-English) are powered by Microsoft Research-developed systems.
    • Two transliteration pairs (chs<->cht), courtesy of the Windows International team.
    • For several languages, better language quality.
    • And finally, the release of TBot, a translation bot for Windows Live Messenger.

    This release is the combination of all the effort that the team has put into machine translation, not only over the past months, but literally over the past years.  We are eager to hear back from our users - try out the system today and let us know what you think!

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