I’ve been spending some time in meetings and doing some thinking about how we can start to combine some of the great resources that we have here at Microsoft. One idea that came up today has to do with machine translation and blogs.

 

We already do machine translation for product support knowledge bases. So, for instance, if you go to a KB article like this one, it defaults to US English. But on the right is a dropdown where you can select a language and get a machine translated version.

 

At the same time, as I’ve mentioned previously, we have our RSS Feeds site which today lets you select a language, as well as a search term and returns feeds that are written in that language. What if, instead, we allowed you to select any feed, and did a machine translation to whatever language you prefer?

 

One other thought – if you like this idea, how would you like us to surface the feed? Being bilingual myself, I know that when I go to a conference and sit in a session in another country, I often have a hard time because I don’t know technical words in that language. In those cases, having someone give me the word in English works great for me. So, should we send the original feed and the translated one? Would that help to mitigate the imperfect translations that machines do today? I hesitate to give it as an option since the page is currently fairly simple and clean.

 

I’d love your thoughts. Please note again, that this is really early thinking. I plan to do a lot of these types of posts and use the feedback to help drive what types of flexibility we put into our architecture and what features we prioritize.