Microsoft Translator Team Blog

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  • 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

    Welcoming Yahoo! Babel Fish users!

    • 91 Comments

    We are pleased to welcome Yahoo! Babel Fish users to the Bing Translator family. We have been working closely with our friends at Yahoo! to make this an easy transition, and Bing Translator is a natural upgrade to the experience with Yahoo! Babel Fish. We support all the languages you used with Babel Fish, and provide a superset of all the features.

     

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    You will notice a welcome banner indicating your transition to the Bing Translator site from a Yahoo site when you arrive at Bing Translator.  I am pleased to introduce to you some of the great features that our translation service offers starting with a brief introduction to the technology behind the service.

    Our translation technology is built on over a decade of world-class work done at Microsoft Research, and is widely used by a variety of applications and websites. You may have already encountered our technology when you used the translation features within products like Microsoft Office, Bing, Windows Phone, Facebook and Kindle. We serve billions of translations every day across 38 different languages, and we continually add to the list of languages and features. We also have a fast growing developer community.

    Text translator: You can translate text snippets between the supported languages on the home page. If you aren’t sure about the language of the source text, you can always leave it as “Auto-Detect” and we will detect it for you. You can also listen to the translation for a sub set of languages by clicking the speaker icon. You can search the web with translated text snippet, or email it. We welcome your feedback on the translation quality.

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    Webpage translator: Simply type a webpage URL into the text entry box on the home page to translate a webpage. You can use the bi-lingual viewer functionality and switch between various views, including the popular side-by-side view. As you navigate through the site, the webpage translator continues translating.

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    Website widget: We delivered the first no-code, in-place translation widget several years ago and have improved it further since then. The Microsoft Translator widget is a simple to use web control that can make your site available in multiple languages without any coding, while keeping your users on your site. The unique collaborative translation functionality allows you to customize the translations delivered to your site by partnering with trusted users and allow your community to provide suggestions and corrections, to ensure the translations are always best suited to your content and always up-to-date.

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    You may also find it interesting to explore the language labs, where you can test new prototypes and demos from the minds of our team’s researchers and engineers. Our blog is here, you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook and if you have any questions or need any technical support you can use the forums.

    You can also directly reach out to us at mtcont@microsoft.com if you have any other questions.

    Once again, welcome! We are very pleased to have you.

    Vikram Dendi, Director, Bing/Microsoft Translator (@vikman)

    Updated (5/30): Fixed some links

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    To boldly go… Going places with the most innovative Translator app for Windows Phone

    • 5 Comments

    Something amazing happened as GPS navigation devices started making their way into the hands and cars of people around the world – it created a new band of adventurer. Road maps were discarded, atlases gathered dust and schedules filled with more destinations. The GPS gave it’s user that bit of extra confidence to boldly go where they might have otherwise had to spend time to prepare to go.

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    With the new Translator app for Windows Phone, you will be well equipped for an adventure of your own – especially in going to places where you don’t read or speak the local language. With the app on hand, translating printed language on street signs, posters, transit schedules, restaurant menus, etc., is a snap. Well, easier than a snap – all you do is point and observe! The brilliant video mode translation equips you with the magical experience of just looking through the camera to see everything continuously translated, nicely overlaid over the original language.Think automatic subtitles for everyday life. Able to work entirely offline after downloading a small language pack, this feature relies on a highly optimized and compressed translation system, one built using the same technology that powers Bing’s other translation features.

    Here is a behind the scenes look at the app:

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

    You can learn more about the functionality of the app on the Bing blog. If you are an existing user of a previous version, you should shortly see a notification to update.Translator for Windows Phone is now available completely free, on the Windows Phone Marketplace. We would love to hear your feedback and feature suggestions on our user forums.

    In building this app, engineers and researchers on our team solved tremendous technical challenges, and dealt with the nuances of voice, cameras, data availability and language complexity. Yet, our focus was on delivering a scenario that was truly useful to our users. If we are able to provide you that little bit of extra confidence that makes the difference between going somewhere and not – then we would have succeeded.

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

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Microsoft Translator celebrates International Mother Language Day with the release of Hmong

    • 14 Comments

    · In celebration of International Mother Language Day, we are pleased to announce the addition of the Hmong language to our list of supported languages, made possible by a close partnership with the Hmong community. Anyone can now try out the new language on the Bing Translator site, or call it via the Microsoft Translator web service (Hmong Daw, language code mww). clip_image002Hmong Daw is the dialect of Hmong the system supports, also known as White Hmong.

    Instrumental to this effort were members of the Hmong community, who were able to leverage new tools from Microsoft Translator to help preserve and revitalize their language online. These new tools, currently in beta, enable automatic translation support for additional languages, or building higher quality systems for specific terminology and style in the established languages.

    The addition of the Hmong language is an example of the first scenario: Members of the community utilized existing translated material and new features of Microsoft Translator to train a new translation engine. This leveraged Microsoft Translator’s learning abilities, which can learn how to translate from a set of parallel documents (same document in two languages), dictionaries and texts in the language to translate to (Hmong in this case). In addition to teaching the engine a new language, they also involved members of the community, partners and collaborators to create and review improved versions of the automated translation system, and collect qualitative feedback about each “trained” system. Deploying a system that reaches a certain level of quality allows seamless use with the standard Microsoft Translator APIs, and many scenarios powered by the API, like the web translation widget. Feedback that is generated through these scenarios can be utilized again in the training process – creating a virtuous loop for improving the translation quality. Stay tuned for more details about these new tools/features.

    Once again, on International Mother Language day, we congratulate the Hmong community on their accomplishment. We are looking forward to working with many more partners and language communities in the near future.

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Top Sites Going Global with Translator API

    • 7 Comments

    The ability to use language and the capacity to translate between languages is one of the characteristics that define us as humans. Over the last decade, world class researchers - both at our own research labs and around the world have been working on the problem of machine translation, the results of which you are able to enjoy today on Bing and in many other Microsoft products.

    Last month at the BUILD conference, Satya Nadella, (President, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft) announced the global, high volume commercial availability of the Translator API. This was a significant milestone for us, as we had seen a tremendous increase in demand from partners who see it adding great value to their customers and wanted the reliability, performance and scale of a Microsoft service. It was an added bonus that we were able to deliver this class of service to our partners at a significantly lower price than alternatives. Over the past few months, the diversity and volume of partners using our API has increased rapidly and continues to grow.

    A few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out translations powered by our service to many of their major markets across the world. With a user base larger than most countries of the world (barring India and China), and with 75% of the users from outside the US – Facebook is a great example of how the translation API can help partners break down language barriers.

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    Facebook joins many other partners including Trip Advisor, Harper Collins, Elsevier, Webster and eBay who are utilizing the translation API in innovative new ways to bring their services and content to new audiences and new languages. We hope to showcase many of these in the coming months on the Translator blog.

    Today at Web 2.0, in a session titled “The Future of Big Data & the Global Web” we will be outlining the value that this data driven service provides to businesses as they look to expand their business and audience globally. We will also provide an inside look at how the service is built, and showcase some of the partners that have utilized the Translator service to great effect.

    The Translator API offers instant text translation, language detection functionality, text-to-speech in multiple languages and innovative collaborative translation functionality. It was designed from ground up for partner use, and thus provides a choice of API interfaces: SOAP, AJAX, HTTP or OData, allowing developers to choose what works best for their scenario. If you are a web site owner looking for a simpler, no-code solution – the free webpage translation widget might be the best choice. It utilizes the same APIs, and provides additional community focused tools to customize the translations to your site and content in partnership with your visitors. A comprehensive FAQ is available here.

    We believe in the idea of “Translation being a utility, and not a destination”, and you can join us in supporting that notion by utilizing the API to break down language walls on the web today. Subscribe to the free tier of service to get started. You can always upgrade to a higher level of service if you need to.

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

    Also posted to the Bing Search blog.

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