Collaborative Translations: Announcing the next version of Microsoft Translator technology – V2 APIs


There have been many stories about brain vs. brawn. More recently, the human brain and computer brawn have been pitted against each other in arenas such as one-on-one chess. We all have been hearing about applying large amounts of computing power to solve problems like translation by sheer force. As a high-performance cloud service offered by Microsoft, we continue to make investments in such processing power – but we also know that no matter how many machines you throw at translation, it is still impossible to get the correct, error-free, contextually accurate translation every time. With the clear understanding of how it would be a much better outcome for our users and partners, we have been hard at work exploring ways of putting together the might of the machines and the power of human understanding. The first wave of innovations focused on our partners and users was what we called “Anywhere Translations”.

Welcome to the next wave of innovation – Collaborative Translations.

CTFMicrosoft is pleased to announce, the availability of the Collaborative Translations Framework – a technology that combines the scale and speed of automatic machine translation with the accuracy and context awareness of human translation. At MIX 2010, we are announcing the latest version of our translation API (v2).  In addition to bringing real-time, in-place translations to your website, the Microsoft Translator web page widget v2 adds collaborative features that help tailor the translations delivered to fit your site.

In addition to the collaborative features powered by the Collaborative Translations Framework, the V2 of the Microsoft Translator API includes a “batch” interface to translate large amounts of data, support for communicating with the service securely via SSL and the addition of “Translate-and-Speak” – a text-to-speech functionality. We are also adding an enhancement to our Bing Translator user site, where you can use the “Translate-and-Speak” functionality whenever you translate into one of the supported languages.

What is being announced today:

1) A broad set of powerful translation APIs in SOAP, HTTP and AJAX flavors so that developers can pick the best one to fit their requirement. Functionality includes language detection, single and batch translation, collaborative translations and text to speech. All you need to get started is a Bing Developer AppID. In addition, we are also announcing the Microsoft Translator Silverlight control for translation will be available as part of the Silverlight toolkit.

2) An update to Bing Translator translation service, which adds the “Translate-and-Speak” functionality for a set of languages (English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian). Perform a translation on the site and you will notice a speaker icon to click on to hear it spoken.

Who is it for:

The APIs are for anyone that would like to bring translations to their app or site. Some developers have used the APIs to deliver applications that can deal with content in multiple languages, and others have used them to localize their applications. Designers have used them to make sure their designs work in many locales, and enterprises have used them to translate documents. Phone application developers might find the cloud text-to-speech API particularly interesting, as they develop hands-free scenarios.

What does it cost:

The APIs are available at no cost to developers and partners. For high volume commercial use, email mtlic@microsoft.com.

How many languages do you support? When can you add support for <insert language here>?

We continually work on adding new languages – since the last MIX we added 17 new languages bringing us to 30. Here is the list of languages we currently support:

Arabic German Polish
Bulgarian Greek Portuguese
Chinese Simplified Haitian Creole Romanian
Chinese Traditional Hebrew Russian
Czech Hungarian Slovak
Danish Italian Slovenian
Dutch Japanese Spanish
English Korean Swedish
Finnish Lithuanian Thai
French Norwegian Turkish

You can always find the latest list of languages here.

Comments (12)

  1. Ron says:

    "Anywhere Translations" is big news for Microsoft and business owners who would like to localize their website. As Microsoft partners we at OneHourTranslation.com can deliver professional human translators for any website that integrate this new innovative widget. This way, a website owner that wish her website to be translated professionally and quickly.

  2. Looks like a real competition to other solutions in the market.

    i wonder if I should start looking for a new profession

  3. @Mike, like Ron above we think this could be a great opportunity to professional translations since this provides a great hybrid solution without site owners or translators having to invest a significant amount of resources setting up a traditional localization model.

    We want to hear from you on how we can make this better for someone like you to use in reaching out to potential customers. Email us at mtcont@microsoft.com!

    -Vikram Dendi

    Microsoft Translator

  4. Ukrainian says:

    Any news about Ukrainian language translation in your translator?

  5. Ad says:

    Anywhere Translations doesn't work well.

    When I tried to translate a German text to Dutch it failed to understand several words and the grammar is horrendous. For instance the German word "Bestatter" has not been recognised.

  6. Jason says:

    Is there a chance that the widget can be placed at the bottom of the browser ?  (i.e. like facebook chat) so it does not interfer with the web content. I added this and my menu is all over the place.  Would love to use this widget as it is so user friendly.

    Hi Jason,

    Placement of the widget depends on the design of the web page.  If you are the designer of your web content, you should be able to insert the Widget at where you so desire. If you are using a blog site, it really depends on the blog design infrastructure as to where it allows user to add javascript. Hope this helps.

    Ronit 

    The machine translation team 

  7. Coratian says:

    why is there no CROATIAN LANGUAGE …???

    :(((

  8. john harris says:

    Can i get this on my smartphone?

  9. m ferreira says:

    Is good can use this support when is necessary

  10. satyendra yadav says:

    very very nice translation API. i like it too much. thank you Microsoft. it is very useful for sites

  11. Jose Gomes Ruiz says:

    Agradeço a Tecnologia Microsoft, pela concessão deste serviço, pois há momentos em que devido ao montante de correspondência recebida, uma ou um conjunto de palavras eu precise entender melhor e torna-se difícultoso; mesmo diante dos conhecimentos que possuo.

  12. @jim basset: There is an existing TTS feature in the core Microsoft Translator App. We do not offer, yet, a speech-to-text one. The only way to support speech-to-text is through the Skype Translator Preview product (which is solution not an open platform for now). http://www.skype.com/translator

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