Microsoft Translator Blog

Translated Conversations are More Natural than Ever

Whether you’re in a taxicab, a restaurant, or just trying to ask for directions on the street, communicating with someone speaking another language is not always easy, natural or quick. That’s why the Microsoft Translator app is now offering the new conversation feature in both its Android and Apple versions. With this feature, we are offering a more natural way to communicate in person across languages by leveraging your smartwatch and phone.

The Microsoft Translator apps for iOS and Android were released back in August and have received many praises from users and press, ranking #2 in USA Today and 10Best’s reader poll for Best New Travel App, placing at #7 in Time’s Top 10 Apps of 2015, and being GeekWire’s App of the Week the week it was released.

The new conversation feature uses the same Microsoft Translator translation engine that powers Skype Translator, bringing our advanced machine learning know-how and speech recognition systems to assist you to converse in-person. The feature supports translation to and from Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

We worked on making the feature work well if you have just your phone with the app installed. However, it shines when you have two smart devices: your phone and your watch. It allows you to have a more comfortable and fluid translated conversation. Instead of two people having to bend over your phone, passing it back and forth, being far from the microphone (and picking up background noise), or being at an uncomfortably close distance with each other, you can now face each other more naturally and at a more comfortable distance, while talking to each other in your own language. You can now fully benefit from the advantage of having a smart phone and watch combo. We haven’t gotten to a babelfish experience yet, and we’ll keep working towards providing better and a more natural translation experience in the future.

Behind the scenes of all of this are complex, machine learning powered speech recognition and translation technologies, and using both a phone and a watch is a brand new way of having face to face translated conversations. Therefore and as always, we would LOVE to hear from you about this experience we’ve crafted for you. Your input will continue to help us refine it further. Most of you already know this, but for our new users — our user community is always open to feedback and ideas, and is waiting for you!

Watch this short, fun animation to see how to use the conversation feature on your smartphone and watch.

Ready to start? Download the apps for iOS or Android.

If you already have the Microsoft Translator app on your iOS or Android device, the conversation feature will be automatically available when you update your app. 

Read more on the Microsoft Office blog.

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