Our friends over in the Internet Explorer building recently released a developer preview version of IE8.
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.
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.
Our web page translation includes a user interface we refer to as the Bilingual Viewer. It offers 4 types of bilingual views which users can choose depending on preference. The side-by-side and top/bottom views offer synchronized scrolling, highlighting, and navigation. In the two single language views, you can hover your mouse pointer over a sentence in one language and the corresponding passage in the other language is automatically displayed nearby for ease of reference. Finally, we render the translated text progressively on a web page in order to make it more quickly available for the user to read, while other page elements are still being translated in the background.
To change your view, just click on one of the four options in the “Views” section on the upper right part of the site:
Original with hover translation view:
Translation with hover original view:
Note: when you click on “Translate this page” while using Live Search, the web page will be opened in the Bilingual Viewer (in side-by-side view or the view you selected during your last viewing session). Read more about that here.
Check out the bilingual viewer today if you haven’t played around with it before! And as always, let us know your feedback :)
Lee Schwartz is a Computational Linguist on the Microsoft Translator team. Today’s guest blog is about getting lost in (machine) translation…
Recently, a user seemed upset with the translation he received for a metal paint can. No wonder. When he translated this into Spanish, he got un metal pintura puede, which means a metal paint is able to. And, what is that supposed to mean? But, then again, what is "meaning" to a machine translation system anyway? Does anything mean anything? Or, is the computer just seeing words in combination in one language and corresponding words in another language? And is it assuming that because one sequence is used in the source language when another is used in the target, one is the translation of another? Even if the machine translation program is just seeing words in combination, wouldn't it have seen paint can before and know that the can in this context is some kind of container? Then, again, can you be sure that the computer behind the MT program knows anything about paint cans, or has seen those two words in combination? Why do you think it would have? But, giving it the benefit of the doubt, and assuming it knows all about paint cans, or at least has seen the string paint can a lot, how is it supposed to know how to translate a metal paint can? Maybe the computer has seen something like The metal film on one side of the plate... may be obtained by ...spraying a metal paint or ....
Ah ha! So there really are metal paints. And, if there are metal paints, why can't a metal paint can be the answer to a metal paint can, can't it? Well, it is just not likely that when you have the words paint and can in sequence, that can means be able to. But then again it is just not likely that can means anything but be able to. I guess we can say things and think things that are just not likely. I can easily understand what A metal paint can can, can't it? means. The computer might just think that I inadvertently typed can twice. Certainly, if it learns from real data, say from the Web, it will see can can a lot. Maybe that is why it won't translate He did the can can correctly. But really, what is English doing with so many types of cans anyway? We can even can worms, but we won’t open that one now.
Delivering free, easy-to-use tools to enable you and your community to collaboratively customize translations based on your content and scenarios.
As machine translation researchers, we are well aware of the challenges in applying brute force computing power to solve translation problems. We know that no matter how much processing power you throw at translation, it is still a stretch to get an error-free, contextually accurate translation every time. As a partner-focused translation services team, we have been on the forefront of delivering better ways to tailor translations to fit the specific content being translated. Over two years ago, we took a step in the direction of helping users customize translations being delivered through our Microsoft Translator Collaborative Translation Framework. As an integral part of the Microsoft Translator API, these technologies allowed users to edit and override the machine generated translations after they were delivered, and made them available for reuse via the API.
Today at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, we are announcing the commercial availability of the Microsoft Translator Hub, an innovative tool that gives partners and communities unprecedented control over how the translation engine translates their content -- before the translations are delivered. Using the Hub, users can improve and optimize the translation quality for a specific area of terminology and style.
The Translator Hub is a free extension of the popular Microsoft Translator service, and enables businesses to combine existing translated documents with the power of Microsoft Translator’s big data backend to easily build a custom translation system, whose quality is controlled by the business. Custom systems built and deployed are seamlessly accessible via the standard Microsoft Translator API, and can be built into any scenario or workflow.
While the technology behind the translation and customization services is very powerful, our goal was to deliver the Hub as a simple to use private web portal that makes it easy for users to get started quickly. We achieved this by enabling users to build custom machine translation systems in four simple steps.
The users of the Hub can upload parallel (same document in two languages) and monolingual (single language) documents in a variety of formats, and build custom translation models in a private workspace using Microsoft Translator’s machine learning based training systems. The Hub provides methods and a simple user interface for collaborating and improving the translation system with reviewers, before deploying to the Microsoft Translator runtime infrastructure. The owner of the customized system can keep the system private, share it with other individuals, companies, or make it available publicly.
In addition the same collaborative translation functionality is integrated into the Microsoft Translator API enabling continuous improvement of the customized translation system through ongoing community engagement and feedback.
Learn more about this great tool on the Microsoft Translator web site, where you can also see how some of our early partners, like Lionbridge and PLYmedia, have leveraged the Translator Hub to power innovative business solutions and scenarios. You can also request an invite to the Hub directly from the Translator Hub portal.
We are confident that this technology will change the conversation about the quality of machine translation. Whether you are looking to stretch your localization budget, communicate with your global customers, or better understand your increasingly multilingual business data, Microsoft Translator Hub and the Translator API are worth considering as part of your workflow. By bringing together your pre-existing translated data with Microsoft’s big data translation models, the Hub opens up new cross-language possibilities for your business.
We look forward to working with you. If you are attending WPC 2012, do attend the Microsoft Translator session (2 PM, Wednesday July 11) or visit our innovation theatre presentations in the Solutions Innovation Center to learn more (search for “microsoft translator”).
- Vikram Dendi Director, Product Management Microsoft/Bing Translator
In partnership with Microsoft Research Connections, we also had the privilege of showcasing another aspect of the Microsoft Translator Hub in helping preserve and revitalize languages online in February 2012. Members of the Hmong community were among the first users of the Translator Hub and were able to build a machine translation system for the Hmong Daw language from scratch. The community chose to make this language available broadly via the public translation API and Bing Translator on International Mother Language Day, helping the worldwide Hmong community benefit from the great work of these passionate volunteers. Many other communities from around the world are now using the Translator Hub to build translation systems for their languages. You can watch some of these inspiring stories here and learn more about the research behind the Microsoft Translator Hub on the Inside Microsoft Research blog.
A little while ago I was asked to figure out a solution to a user experience problem that was affecting some of our offerings such as the widget, the Bing text and web page translators. A “bug” was assigned to me, asking me to weigh in on how to deal with a problem of plenty: Given we were about to add a substantial set of new languages we were running out of space to display them properly. What could be a quick interim fix?
Several months ago, while announcing the availability of Hebrew in our language list, I had requested our community of users what else they wanted to see supported. Taking into account all the feedback that came in since then, we have been hard at work to add support to new languages. This is why it’s always a pleasure to encounter problems like the one above – they indicate that this work was coming to fruition.
I am happy to announce the addition of seven new languages to our translation service. As always, they will be immediately available for your use through the APIs and all the products that consume the service. Here is the list of languages that have been added in the latest release. In addition there have been several updates to the Haitian Creole language since we last talked about it here.
ROM - Romanian NOR - Norwegian HUN - Hungarian SKY - Slovak SLO - Slovenian LTH - Lithuanian TRK – Turkish
This brings our languages supported number to 30 languages. Here is the full list:
ARA - Arabic CHS - Chinese Simplified CHT - Chinese Traditional NLD - Dutch ENU - English FRA - French DEU - German HEB – Hebrew HT – Haitian Creole ITA - Italian JPN - Japanese KOR - Korean PLK - Polish PTB - Portuguese RUS - Russian ESN - Spanish CSY - Czech DAN - Danish ELL - Greek SVE - Swedish THA - Thai BGR - Bulgarian FIN – Finnish ROM - Romanian NOR - Norwegian HUN - Hungarian SKY - Slovak SLO - Slovenian LTH - Lithuanian TRK - Turkish
Head on over to our forums if you have specific feedback or looking for discussions about these new languages. We continue to work on adding even more languages to the service, so please keep sending us feedback and stay tuned for other announcements on this blog.
With the addition of these new languages, the approach I recommended in the short term is visible in the translation toolbar – the language list uses a smaller font size. In the future, we intend to move to either a multiple column list, or another style of display for the list.
I will look forward to more such problems, since it means we are meeting more expectations from you - our users. Enjoy the new languages!
- Vikram Dendi, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Translator