Windows Phone 8 introduces a host of new features, including speech synthesis. This is the perfect fit for Microsoft Translator and opens up exciting opportunities for developers as showcased in our November 12 blog post.
In the latest in our series of walkthroughs, we step you through everything you need to do to build a simple translation app that takes your text and translates it into a variety of different languages using the free Microsoft Translator APIs. It then uses the native speech synthesis in Windows 8 to ‘read out’ the translation with the correct pronunciation.
The walkthrough takes you from soup to nuts in signing up for the free service, getting your credentials, installing and configuring the tools, designing, developing and testing your application.
Check it out at:
The full source code for the app is available here:
The Microsoft Translator API is a hosted API that allows you to add machine translation to your app. It fully supports Windows Store Apps, so if you want to add localization to these apps, doing so is as easy as subscribing to and using the API. We’ve built out step-by-step instructions and assets that demonstrates how to do this this, showing a C#/XAML based app, built for the Windows 8 Store, which uses the MVVM design pattern.
Getting Started Guides and Assets:
Build a Twitter App with Translations
Want to know what people are saying about the latest product release or global news event across the world in 40+ languages? The Twitter app allows you to search for tweets that match a search term, and when those tweets are in a non-English language, it will translate them for you directly over the top of the existing text. We’ve also made the full code for the application available for you to download. The links above with provide you with the walkthroughs and assets to get started.
View of Twitter App with Translations:
Close-up of one of the tweets, showing the translation:
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.
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.
For those of you who are new to the app, here is a behind-the-scenes look:
We hope you find the app useful as you navigate an increasingly multilingual universe.
- Vikram Dendi, Director of Product Management, Microsoft/Bing Translator
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
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.