Microsoft Translator Team Blog

News and Views from the Microsoft Translator Team in Microsoft Research.

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  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Have you seen the Bilingual Viewer?

    • 18 Comments

    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:

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    Side-by-side view:

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    Top/Bottom view:

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    Original with hover translation view:

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    Translation with hover original view:

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    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 :)

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Announcing the Microsoft Translator Hub for commercial use – a comprehensive solution for custom translation quality

    • 1 Comments

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Announcement: New languages added to Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator)

    • 41 Comments

    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.

    New languages:

    ROM - Romanian
    NOR - Norwegian
    HUN - Hungarian
    SKY - Slovak
    SLO - Slovenian
    LTH - Lithuanian
    TRK – Turkishimage

    This brings our languages supported number to 30 languages. Here is the full list:

    Currently available:

    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

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Translation powered by....Microsoft Translator!

    • 21 Comments

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    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!

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Microsoft Translator API now supports OData, pricing details for higher volumes announced

    • 0 Comments

     

    Microsoft President Satya Nadella announced major new milestones for the Translator API at his BUILD conference keynote today. We would like to provide some additional detail about the announcement here.

    The headlines:

    1. Microsoft Translator API available via the Windows Azure Marketplace at various volume levels to meet your needs
    2. Reiterating our support for standards by supporting OData and adding standards based (OAuth) authentication for greater security
    3. Publishing the pricing model for the various subscription tiers to best fit your needs (in addition to the free tier that we currently offer)

    Starting today developers can directly sign up for the Microsoft Translator service on the Windows Azure Marketplace at the level of volume they expect to use. Windows Azure Marketplace is the one stop shop for cloud data, apps and services and we are pleased to utilize this platform to deliver the Translator API to developers.  Provisioning the Microsoft Translator API through the Marketplace allows us to deliver the service at higher volumes than we previously could offer, along with the facility to upgrade to higher volume on demand. Additionally, the Marketplace provides a world-class ecommerce back-end which enables us to better serve our global Translator partners and grow with demand.

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    We are also pleased to announce the addition of OData to our already diverse set of interfaces (SOAP, HTTP & AJAX) to the Microsoft Translator service. Once you subscribe to the offer on Azure Marketplace, you can explore the Odata end point by using the Service Explorer. Starting now, developers are also able to use standards based two-leg authentication (OAuth) to secure calls to API (irrespective of the end point they are using). The full details are available in our developer documentation.

     

    Service Explorer

    In response to the tremendous demand from existing as well as new partners that wish to utilize a reliable, consistently available, and developer friendly service, we are also pleased to announce pricing for higher volume usage today. In addition to a no-cost tier that is designed for low-volume and hobbyist use, you can today subscribe to higher volume tiers at an attractive price point. You can subscribe to tiers ranging from 4M (million) characters a month onwards, priced at US $10 per million characters. As an introductory offer, we are also announcing a 120 day (4 month) promotional free trial on all paid subscriptions for a limited time. We hope this would allow you to use the service and determine the volume level you would need for your scenario. Existing licensees and users of our API are not affected by this announcement and will have plenty of notice to prepare for the eventual transition onto the unified Marketplace based platform. Please refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for more details.

    Nearly five years ago, we first said “hello world” on this blog. Since then, thanks to an ever increasing user base and enthusiastic developer and business partners we have come a long way. As a team of researchers and engineers at Microsoft Research, we continue to strive to deliver value to Microsoft partners and users worldwide by combining research investments with product development. In addition to our the API, we also provide translation experiences through Bing Translator – our consumer focused webpage and text translation site, through Office, Bing Bar, Internet Explorer and much more. Please don’t hesitate to send us your feedback, comments and questions. We have vibrant user and developer communities where you can discuss the service or ask for help. For questions that aren’t answered in the FAQ or the community, you can also email us at mtcont@microsoft.com (for general comments), or at mtlic@microsoft.com (for specific licensing questions). Please direct any press inquires to mtcont@microsoft.com.

    We hope to see you soon from the other side of a translation request!

    Vikram Dendi
    Director of Product Management
    Microsoft Translator

    Updated (9/22): Clarification added to title that the free tier of service is not going away.

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