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Microsoft Translator Blog

Microsoft Translator’s Look Back at 2015

It’s been a great year at Microsoft Translator. We’re grateful to have been able to offer so many new ways to break down the language barriers that separate people. In addition to launching new languages, we’ve also introduced a host of new apps to help people communicate whenever and wherever they need instant translation. Here are some of our highlights from the last year.

  • New languages for text translation
    This year we launched Queretaro Otomi, Yucatec Maya, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Kiswahili. The first of these, Queretaro Otomi and Yucatec Maya, are endangered languages, and the language systems were developed in conjunction with community partners using the Microsoft Translator Hub to help preserve and safeguard these languages for generations to come.
  • New languages for conversation translation
    In addition to our text translation languages, we also launched conversation translation for Chinese Mandarin, French, German, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese. Unlike voice recognition languages which are generally suitable just for short utterances, conversation language systems are designed specifically for normal conversations. In 2015, we introduced 5 new languages which are available in Skype Translator, and our apps for iOS and Android phones and watches.
  • Demonstrated how Skype Translator can be used to help the hard of hearing
    Using speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies, Skype Translator has proved to not only bridge the language gap, but the accessibility gap as well. Our team has found that Skype Translator can be a new and powerful communication tool for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Made Skype Translator public, and then integrated it into Skype for Windows desktop
    When it was first launched in late 2015, the Skype Translator Preview app was only available to a select number of users. In 2015, we made the app available to everyone, and later integrated it into the standard Skype for Windows desktop app.
  • Established the Microsoft Translator Partner Alliance Program
    Microsoft Translator has always relied on strong partnerships to drive innovation and meet customer needs. Our partners generally fall into 4 broad categories: language service providers, translation memory application vendors, systems integrators, or software and cloud services vendors. Become a partner or learn more about the program and its benefits.
  • Introduced the Document Translator and other apps on GitHub to help people learn how to make their own translation apps
    Curious how you can add translation to your app or website? Our open source code on GitHub, combined with developer information on MSDN should give you everything you need to know to get started. We have several demonstrator apps in different languages, including the Document Translator.
  • Launched apps for Apple Watch and iPhone, and Android Wear and Android Phone
    This year we launched apps for Apple Watch and iPhone, as well as Android Wear and Android Phone. See a full list of Translator apps for watches, phones, tablets, and PCs.
  • Added the new conversations feature to our apps on iOS and Android
    Launched in late 2015, we introduced the new conversation feature for iOS and Android to let you translate face to face conversations in a more natural way by simultaneously using your smartwatch and phone. The feature uses the same Microsoft Translator speech translation engine that powers Skype Translator that is optimized for translating full conversations, not just short sentences. If you don’t have a phone, that’s no problem– you can still use the feature with just your phone.
  • Integrated native translation into Cortana
    Windows 10 users can get instant translations from Cortana through voice and text queries. For instance, just ask Cortana, “Hey Cortana, translate where is the nearest taxi stand in French” and Cortana will provide you with a translation.
  • Introduced the universal Windows 10 app
    In addition to Translator’s availability in Cortana, you can also download the new Windows 10 app which gives you text, voice, and picture translations; modifies Chinese translations to Pinyin; provides text-to-speech for translations; and supports offline translation with free downloadable language packs for when you are not connected to the web. The app works on all Windows 10 devices, from PC to Phone and beyond.

Thanks for a fantastic year, and we’re excited for everything that’s coming up in 2016.

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