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Microsoft Translator Blog

Microsoft and Huawei deliver Full Neural On-device Translations

Microsoft is delivering the world’s first fully neural on device translations in the Microsoft Translator app for Android, customized for the Huawei Mate 10 series. Microsoft achieved this breakthrough by partnering with Huawei to customize Microsoft’s new neural technology for Huawei’s new NPU (Neural Processing Unit) hardware. This results in dramatically better and faster offline translations as compared to existing offline packs.

The Microsoft Translator app with these capabilities comes pre-installed on Huawei Mate 10 devices allowing every Mate 10 user to have native access to online quality level translations even when they are not connected to the Internet.

Until now, due to the computational requirements of neural machine translation, it was not possible to do full Neural Machine Translation (NMT) on-device. Huawei’s Mate 10 is the first phone featuring a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for accelerating AI computing tasks. By combining Microsoft latest advancement in NMT on-device technology, and Huawei Mate 10 NPU, both speed and quality of offline translations are dramatically boosted. This offers users a unique offline language experience not found on other devices: the power of neural network translation without an internet connection.


What does this mean for users of the Microsoft Translator app on the Huawei Mate 10?

Imagine you are traveling and need to use the Translator app to ask for directions or understand a restaurant menu. With spotty network coverage and high roaming costs, you may not have an internet connection. Now, before you travel, you can download neural offline packs and have state-of-the-art neural translation at your fingertips, wherever you go.

“Before, customers had to choose between the quality of online and the convenience of offline translations. Now, with our NPU and Microsoft Translator software, customers get the best of both.”
Baofeng(Felix) Zhang, VP of CBG software and Head of AI, Huawei


AI-Powered Offline Translations using Neural Networks: The Numbers


Whether it is for its mobile app or its Translator API, part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, Microsoft uses the industry standard BLEU score to measure its translation quality. BLEU rates translation quality by comparing how close machine translations are to human ones.
Using this methodology, internal tests have shown, depending on the language, up to a 23 percent better offline translation quality over competing best-in-class offline packs, and often a difference of less than 1 BLEU point between Microsoft state-of-the art online neural and offline neural translations.

This means that even when you’re not connected to the Internet, offline translation quality using the Translator app on Huawei’s Mate 10 is closer to human translation than offline translations have ever been.


Quality of translations is not the only benefit of this new technology. Our tests also showed that translation of a full-page text picture was not only more accurate, but also up to three times faster than with the previous versions of Microsoft Translator on other high-end devices.


This new technology also saves space: The language packs for Huawei Mate 10 are 50 percent smaller than current Translator packs, leaving more space for your travel memories.

A full-featured app for all your mobile translation needs

The app has all the features Microsoft Translator is known for, including 60+ text translation languages and the Translator live feature that allows up to 100 people to have real-time conversations from their own device, including joining a translated presentation using the Presentation Translator PowerPoint add-in, and more. The full feature list can be found here.

The new Mate 10 exclusive neural translation packs are available for the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.

In addition to these purely neural network powered languages, additional language packs are available for the remaining languages.

Read more about the Huawei Mate 10 release here: