Microsoft Translator adds new customization features for use in company translations

Laurent Giret

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Microsoft’s Translator service expanded significantly during the last year, adding new languages, integration into Cortana and cross-platform availability. But today, as Microsoft explains in a blog post, companies can now use the technology of its Microsoft Translator Hub to create brand new language systems.

Back in 2012, the Microsoft Translator Hub was launched by Microsoft to help enterprises with their unique translation needs. In fact, because companies can’t rely on default translation tools provided by Google or Bing, they often have to build their own customized translation tools.

But Microsoft wants to change that. Until now the Translator Hub allowed enterprises to “create as many custom systems as needed by combining Microsoft’s enormous translation corpus with their own previously translated documents, such as internal or external websites, brochures, white papers, etc”.

But it wasn’t good enough for Microsoft, and the company is detailing 5 new different levels of customization available to Microsoft Translator API users, each one corresponding to an increasing translation quality.

Microsoft Translator customization levels

Here is what this new dichotomy means:

  • The “Standard category” is the first new quality level, and right now it features just two sub-categories, “tech” and “speech”. These categories tell Microsoft Translator what type of content is being translated in order to improve its accuracy. So, while the “Tech” category aims to “improve translation quality on all computer-related content”, the “Speech” category will use the same technology developed for Skype Translator to translate spoken text. Other categories are coming soon according to Microsoft.
  • The “Dictionary” category will allow companies to “make your foreign language word, lists so that the terminology that is unique to your business or industry will translate just the way you want”. Companies can customize their system by uploading a simple Excel spreadsheet with their word list to the Translator Hub website.
  • The last two categories will interest companies who want to train their customized system with more than 1,000 “parallel sentences”, which are pre-translated sentences in the original target language. With more than 5,000 parallel sentences, Microsoft explains that “you can begin to create a system that is learning new terms and phrases in the right context and tone of your business”.

Once enterprises have created these brand new language systems, they will be able to use them with all category ID-enabled Microsoft Translator products, and among them Microsoft is listing “the on premise version of SharePoint, the Translator Web Widget, Office apps for PowerPoint and Word, the Document Translator, and the Multilingual App Toolkit, and many translation memory tools from our partners”.

Companies interested in trying Microsoft Translator can already register a free 2 million character per month subscription. It’s interesting to see Microsoft releasing more and more of its artificial intelligence tools to everyone, as it recently did with its CNTK toolkit for machine learning tasks. We can’t wait to see how companies will make use of all these computing powers!