Japanese becomes the 10th speech translation language supported by Microsoft Translator


Tokyo tower and Mt. Fuji

Today, Microsoft Translator announces the availability of its 10th speech translation language: Japanese. This new language is now available across all Microsoft Translator supported technologies and products along with the already released nine other speech translation languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Microsoft Translator is the first end-to-end speech translation solution optimized for real-life conversations (vs. simple human to machine commands) available on the market. It is one of the services in Microsoft’s portfolio of artificial intelligence technologies designed to make AI accessible to all.

Speech translation is a hard problem to solve, as is always the case when machines are trying to mimic a deeply human capability.  It uses two neural-network based Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies: Automatic Speech Recognition and Machine Translation. It also uses a unique natural language processing technology (TrueText) and a speech synthesizer, aka “Text to Speech”, which enables users to hear, and not only read, the translation.

These technologies are then connected to perform the speech translation function:

english_to_japanese_1920

 

  1. The sound is transcribed into text through the speech recognition AI
  2. TrueText then processes this text to remove unnecessary speech elements, such as redundant words or fillers like “um” (English) or “eto” (Japanese), that would generate poor translations
  3. The machine translation AI then translates each word using the context of the full sentence
  4. Finally, the text to speech generates the audio output from this translated text

 

With this release, businesses, developers, and end users alike will be able to use Japanese in the various apps and services offered or powered by Microsoft Translator:

You can translate any of the supported 10 Translator speech languages into any of the supported 60+ Translator text languages.

In addition to the availability of Japanese as a speech translation language, starting today, all text translations from English to Japanese (and vice-versa) in Microsoft products and services will exclusively use these new and improved neural network translations system. Whether you translate a webpage in Edge, an email in Outlook, or a simple sentence on www.bing.com/translator, all of your translations will be performed with our state of the art neural network systems.

Read more about this news in our Microsoft Japan blog (in Japanese)

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Comments (3)

  1. Yoshihiro Kawabata says:

    Wow, great.
    I can translate speech from Japanese to English, well.

  2. Craig says:

    Please make the camera feature available, soon! Hard to be in Japan and translate things back into English without this!

    1. Hi Craig! The camera feature is available! Download the app, click the camera to take or upload a photo, and start translating. You can download an offline packs for many languages for the camera feature – including Japanese. If you don’t have the app you can download it here: https://translator.microsoft.com/apps/

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