Microsoft Translator Blog

Introducing: Windows Live Translator Beta

There has been some great coverage recently on the beta release of our new online translation service. In this post I would like to provide you with information regarding Microsoft’s entry into the free online machine translation field – straight from the horse’s mouth, figuratively speaking.

The URL of the translation home page is, where you can issue requests for text and web page translations:image

Note that a check box option labeled Computer-related content allows you to get better-adapted translations for (computer-) technical text, provided by Microsoft Research’s own statistical machine translation engine. This service is available for the following language pairs:


English – Chinese Simplified

English – Chinese Traditional

English – French

English – German

English – Italian

English – Japanese

English – Portuguese

English – Spanish

Non-technical translations and additional language pairs are currently provided by the latest version of Systran. The additional language pairs available are:

Arabic – English

Chinese Simplified – English

Chinese Traditional – English

Dutch – English

English – Arabic

English – Dutch

English – Korean

French – English

French – German

German – English

German – French

Italian – English

Japanese – English

Korean – English

Portuguese – English

Russian – English

Spanish – English

Our innovative approach to web page translation includes a user interface we refer to as the Bilingual Viewer. It offers 4 types of bilingual views from which users may choose depending on their preference or screen size. The side-by-side and top/bottom views offer synchronized scrolling, highlighting, and navigation (and yes, we still have some wrinkles to iron out there). In the two single language views, you can hover your mouse pointer over a sentence in one language and the corresponding passage in the other language is automatically displayed nearby for ease of reference. Finally, we render the translated text progressively on a web page in order to make it more quickly available for the user to read, while other page elements are still being translated in the background.

Side-by-side view:


Top/Bottom view:


Original with hover translation view:


Translation with hover original view:


Live Search will soon be exposing “Translate this page” links on the results page for search results which are in a language that is different from the user’s system language (provided that the required language pair is available from our service).  When you click on a “Translate this page” link, the web page will be opened in the Bilingual Viewer (in side-by-side view or the view you selected during your last viewing session).

Translation Quality

Language translation is extremely difficult, as the meaning of words and phrases often depends on the context and specialized knowledge of the domain area or culture. Sentence structures and grammatical rules vary significantly between two languages, adding to the complexity of the translation challenge. Currently, it still requires human skills to translate sentences without errors. The quality of today’s most advanced translation software is well below the accuracy and fluency of a professional translator, and many sentences are simply not understandable. Researchers are continuously working on improvements, but it may be many years before high quality translation can be consistently offered by a computer. For this reason, we display both the original text and its translation, anticipating that you will find it easier to understand the translation, comparing it with the original content if needed.
Some of our translation results (usually for computer-related content) are based on training our translation system on large amounts of bilingual text. The more bilingual or multilingual text we can train our system on, the better our translation quality will become. If you have large amounts of translated text in any subject domain, which you would be willing to share with us, please click here to let us know.

Please refer to our FAQ section for more answers to questions that have reached us, and please do make use of the option to send us Feedback. We have released our first version of this translation service as a Beta, so we can listen to and learn from you how to best meet your needs. Expect to see continuous improvements to the Windows Live Translator Beta.

– Andrea

Andrea Jessee is a Senior Program Manager with Microsoft Research Machine Translation Group