Shaheed Minar monument, a symbol of International Mother Language Day. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Today, we’re releasing nine new languages for text translation in Microsoft Translator: Albanian, Amharic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Khmer, Lao, Myanmar, Nepali, and Tigrinya. This announcement comes on the heels of International Mother Language Day, held annually on February 21st by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
With the addition of these nine new languages, Microsoft Translator text translation is now available in 83 different languages, with additional dialects being available in languages like French and Portuguese and multiple writing systems being available in languages like Chinese and Serbian.
These languages are available now in the Microsoft Translator apps, Office, and Translator for Bing to translate text to or from any of the 83 languages. To add text translation to your own applications, websites, tools, or any solution requiring multi-language support you can use Translator, an Azure Cognitive Service. You can also use Azure Cognitive Services Speech to get speech-to-text translations into these nine languages.
About International Mother Language Day
The 21st of February was declared to be International Mother Language Day in 1999 by UNESCO and has been celebrated annually since 2000. The date was chosen to commemorate the 1952 Bengali language movement advocating for recognition of the Bengali language in modern day Bangladesh. International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2002.
The goal of International Mother Language Day was to “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.” 1 This comes as many of the world’s languages are endangered, or are no longer frequently used in education and the digital domain. As such, the theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day was “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.”
Learn more about International Mother Language Day
About the new languages
The nine new languages we added to Microsoft Translator combined are spoken by more than 170 million people worldwide, opening up new opportunities for them to interact with the world around them.
Khmer – Khmer is spoken by about 16 million people. It is the official language of Cambodia as well as a minority language in Thailand and Vietnam. Learn more
Lao – The official language of Laos, Lao is spoken by about 30 million people in Laos and in neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. Learn more
Myanmar – An estimated 38 million people speak Myanmar in the nation of Myanmar, in neighboring countries, and across the world. Learn more
Nepali – Nepali is spoken by about 16 million people in Nepal, Bhutan, India, Myanmar and across the world. Learn more
Armenian – Armenian is spoken by about 7 million people worldwide. It is the official language of the country of Armenia, but is widespread throughout central and southwest Asia and eastern Europe. There are also significant populations of Armenian speakers in eastern Canada and the western United States. Learn more
Azerbaijani – Azerbaijani is a Turkic language spoken by approximately 23 million people in Azerbaijan, northern Iran, and eastern Turkey. Learn more
Amharic – Amharic is spoken in Ethiopia and the southern tip of the middle east in. It is a Semitic language related to Arabic and Hebrew and is spoken by about 22 million people worldwide. Learn more
Tigrinya – The Tigrinya language, native to Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, is spoken by nearly 11 million people worldwide. Learn more
Albanian – Albanian is spoken by about 8 million people in Albania, surrounding countries in the Balkan region of southeast Europe, and around the world. It is an Indo-European language that is not related to any other modern language. Learn more
What you can do with Microsoft Translator
Translate real-time conversations, menus and street signs, websites, documents, and more using the Microsoft Translator app for iOS, Android, and the web. Learn more
Globalize your business and customer interactions with text and speech translation powered by Translator and Microsoft Speech service, both members of the Azure Cognitive Services family. Learn more
In the classroom
Create a more inclusive classroom for both students and parents with live captioning and cross-language understanding. Learn more