Video: Microsoft hits "human milestone" with Chinese-to-English machine translator.
Instead of relying exclusively on cloud processing for the neural machine translations, mobile users can download a handful of language packs through the Microsoft Translator apps for iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire. As usual, Microsoft is working to sell its wares more to businesses than individual users.
Recent chip advancements have made it possible for Microsoft to bring offline neural machine translation (NMT) to any modern phone; previously it was necessary to use a dedicated AI chip. Because of the computing power needed to run these high-quality translation models, this capability was only available online. Then previous year, this capability was tested to be used offline with some specific Android devices - ones which included a dedicated AI chip. It is also being said that the difference between the online and offline translations are "barely noticeable". The updated Microsoft Translator apps for Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire devices come with new neural machine translation language packs.
The report further suggests that the updated language packs are available for Arabic, Chinese-Simplified, French, Thai, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese along with additional languages which are now in the development phase. For the complete up to date list please check out https://translator.microsoft.com/help/articles/languages.
Developers will also now be able to see a preview of the new local feature so they will be able to quickly and easily add text translation if their app needs it.
Just last month, Microsoft added six new text-to-speech languages to its Translator app for Android.
Translation apps are essential whenever you're traveling in a country where the residents speak a foreign language.
That's because most translation apps (including Google Translate) connect you with cloud computers that do the heavy lifting when it comes to translations. "The Translator app will do the rest", Microsoft explains. Microsoft wants to make that initial step even easier which is why it has now updated the Microsoft Translator app with offline AI translations.
The feature is expected to graduate from preview to general availability within 90 days of the preview release.
The online requirement for AI features is warranted but should also be temporary.
The Android app with language packs is available now, while the iOS app should be available after April 21, because it's still going through Apple's app review process.
Another caveat is that the cloud-based translations you receive when you have a data connection and the offline translations won't be on the same quality level.