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Microsoft Translator Blog

Microsoft Translator adds Icelandic as a supported language

Mr. Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, the president of Iceland, testing Icelandic on the Microsoft Translator app during a recent visit to Microsoft Headquarters.

Microsoft Translator is excited to announce the launch of our latest AI-powered text translation language: Icelandic. It is the first publicly available neural machine translation (NMT) system.

Building this system  was a significant technical challenge for the research team due to the limited amount of available training data.

To achieve the required translation quality, the team tested and relied on several innovative approaches, some new to NMT, and some derived from other work done for other languages.

The Icelandic system used a training technique similar to the one used in this ground breaking research project. Using this technique, the team was able to improve translation quality by generating additional training data from monolingual data translated with the initial translation system.

Although seemingly counter intuitive at first, the NMT system was able to use the massive amounts of translated data created by this machine translated data to retrain the system. It produced a significant increase in translation quality measured by the industry standard BLEU score, and by human evaluations. Additional techniques were employed to help improve the final system quality, such as Byte Pair Encoding (BPE), a technique initially developed for data compression purposes.

The support of Icelandic in Microsoft Translator was highly recognized by the Icelandic president, Mr. Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, who visited Microsoft headquarters in connection to his trip to Seattle for the opening of the Nordic Museum.

Icelandic is now available on all Microsoft Translator apps, add-ins, Office, Translator for Bing, and through the Azure Cognitive Services Translator API for developers.

Communicating to and from Icelandic: Apps & Add-Ins

Learn how to start communicating to and from Icelandic through our apps and add-ins below.

Microsoft Translator Apps

Available on Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, and Windows 10 devices, the Microsoft Translator app supports the following use cases.

Text translation. Type or paste text and translate it in over 60 text translation languages.

Multi-person conversation translation using the live feature. While traveling abroad, you can have live real-time conversations with people who speak other languages, on your own device, in your chosen language. Let’s say you speak one of Microsoft Translator’s ten speech translation languages, such as Spanish, and want to have a conversation with an Icelandic speaker. You can speak Spanish into your phone, and the Spanish audio will be translated into Icelandic text on the other person’s device. This also works in reverse: the Icelandic speaker can type* into their device and reply to the conversation, and the Spanish speaker receives the response in Spanish. This scenario is not limited to two devices or two languages. It can support up to 100 devices across 10 speech translation languages and over 60 text translation languages. To learn more about the Translator live feature go to

Translate websites on Safari using the Microsoft Translator browser extension for iOS. When you download the Translator app on iOS, you automatically have access to the Safari translation add-in. Open safari, tap Settings, and choose your Safari Translation Language. After choosing your language, open any localized website in Safari, tap the Share button, and the Microsoft Translator icon to translate the web content.

Translate text directly in other apps using the contextual text translation extension for Android. There’s no need to switch to the Translator app to translate text in Android. If you have the Translator app downloaded onto your device, this feature will automatically translate text within other apps where the “Share” feature is available. Simply highlight the text, tap the Share button, and tap the Microsoft Translator icon to see the translation.

Download the app on  Android, iOS, or Windows 10.

Presentation Translator for PowerPoint (Windows only)

PowerPoint users can now display live, translated subtitles in Icelandic by speaking in one of the 10 supported speech translation languages. Presentation Translator for PowerPoint gives audience members the opportunity to follow along on their own device, in their chosen text language. Download and learn more.

Translator for Outlook add-in

Translate email messages to and from Icelandic across devices using an or Office365 email address. Read our blog for a complete list of features, and download the add-in here.

Translator for Microsoft Edge

Translate web pages from or to Icelandic across over 60 other languages using the Microsoft Edge Translator extension. Download the extension here.

Translator for Microsoft Word

Translate entire Word documents into over 60 text translation languages by selecting the “translate” icon from the “review” tab of the ribbon. The translated text will show up in a new Word document and will maintain its original formatting, including tracked changes and comments! Learn how to start using Translator for Microsoft Word.

Translator for Bing

Translate text and entire websites into Icelandic directly in your browser with Translator for Bing.

Icelandic translation for businesses and developers

The Microsoft Translator API helps integrate translation support for any solution across all sectors from manufacturing, retail, gaming, education, financial services, government services, and many more.

Part of Azure Cognitive Services, the Microsoft Translator API is used by businesses worldwide for web localization and e-commerce, internal communication, customer support, and business intelligence.

This week, we launched the latest version of the Translator Text API, version 3, which comes with other Translator product releases:

  • The custom feature allows for not only customized text translation, but speech translation as well. With as few as 2,000 parallel sentences, i.e. human generated translations, you can begin customizing your translations.
  • A preview of the new unified Cognitive Services Speech which combines the capabilities of the existing Translator Speech API, Bing Speech API, and Custom Speech Service in a unified and fully customizable set of services: speech to text, translation, and text-to-speech

To learn more about Microsoft Translator for business, visit the Microsoft Translator business site.


*Icelandic speech to text not yet available.