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). Hmong 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. The 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.