Skip to main content

Microsoft Translator Blog

Microsoft Translator’s highlights of 2021

Throughout 2021 Translator brought new innovations to help people communicate regardless of the language they speak. Here are some of the highlights.

Introducing Document Translation

Document translation is a new feature of the Translator service that translates entire documents, or batches of documents, in a variety of file formats preserving their original structure and format.

Document translation was specifically designed to translate large files with rich content. You can also apply custom glossaries and custom translation models built with Custom Translator to make sure that your documents translate exactly the way you want.

  • Translate large files: Translate whole documents asynchronously.
  • Translate numerous files: Translate multiple files across all supported languages and dialects while preserving document structure and data format.
  • Preserve source file presentation: Translate files while preserving the original layout and format.
  • Apply custom translation: Translate documents using general and custom translation models.
  • Apply custom glossaries: Translate documents using custom glossaries.
  • Automatically detect document language: Let the Document Translation service determine the language of the document.
  • Translate documents with content in multiple languages: Use the autodetect feature to translate documents with content in multiple languages into your target language.

Learn More:

Containers available in gated preview

The Translator service on Azure is now available in containers in gated preview. Containers enable you to run some features of the Translator service in your own environment. They are ideal for organizations with limited Internet connectivity, or for organizations with specific security and data governance requirements that prevent them from sending information to the cloud.

Some of the benefits of containers for certain organizations include:

  • Keep Data In House: Certain industries may have regulations that prohibit sending data to the cloud. Containers allow data to be kept on premises to comply with these regulations.
  • Portable architecture: Containers enable the creation of a portable application architecture that can be deployed on Azure, on-premises, and the edge.
  • Flexibility: With containers, you can run the latest models in the Translator service and update those models when you want to update them.

Learn more:
Translator Service Now Available in Containers

Translator now supports more than 100 languages and dialects!

In 2021, Translator added 23 new languages and dialects for a grand total of more than 100! Adding these languages was made possible by the advent of transformer architecture which paved new ways for creating machine translation models, enabling training with smaller amounts of material than before. Using multilingual transformer architecture, we can now augment training data with material from other languages, often in the same or a related language family, to produce models for languages with small amounts of data —commonly referred to as low-resource languages.

Learn more:

Award winning research – Multilingual translation at scale

This year at the annual Conference on Machine Translation, WMT 2021, the Microsoft Translator ZCode team, working together with the Microsoft Project Turing team and Microsoft Research Asia, competed in the “Large-scale Multilingual Translation” track and won. The track consisted of a Full Task of translating between all 10,000 directions across 101 languages, and two Small tasks: One focused on 5 central and southern European languages, and one on 5 south-east Asian languages. The Microsoft ZCode-DeltaLM model won all three tasks by huge margins, including an incredible 10+ point gain over the M2M100 model in the large task evaluated on a massive 10,000 language pairs.

Learn more
Multilingual translation at scale: 10000 language pairs and beyond

Group Transcribe, a Microsoft Garage project

Group Transcribe, a new app from the Microsoft Garage, was introduced in March. Group Transcribe provides real-time transcription and translation for in-person meetings and conversations. Powered by cutting edge AI speech and language technology, Group Transcribe allows each participant to use their own device, providing highly accurate speaker attribution so conversation participants can see who said what in their preferred language.

Group Transcribe provides high-quality, real-time transcription and translation:

  • Start a conversation from your phone and easily invite others to join
  • Stay focused without taking notes or pushing-to-talk
  • Follow along with the conversation in real-time in your preferred language
  • Automatically save the transcript after each session
  • Browse and view previous transcripts from your home screen
  • Easily share transcripts with others
  • Supports languages in 80+ locales

Group Transcribe is available now on iOS.

Learn more:
New Garage project Group Transcribe helps you transcribe and translate while advancing inclusive speech AI

Permanent conversation codes in the Translator web app

In June we updated the Translator multi-device conversations feature on the web ( With the new version of conversations on the web, you can now create a preset conversation code that can be reused for your subsequent conversations. You can then invite anyone to join the conversation from their own phone, tablet, or laptop.

Preset conversations are designed for educators, presenters, or for reoccurring meetings where you need live transcript or translation to keep everybody in the conversation, regardless of the language they speak.

Learn more:
Access your conversations with a permanent conversation code using Microsoft Translator

New Speech Regions and Updated Language Picker in the Translator App

This summer we added regional accents to the Microsoft Translator app on iOS and Android. Known as Speech Regions, you can now select the accent of text-to-speech audio output you would like to hear while using the app. For instance, if you wanted to hear a translation into English you would be able to select American, British, Australian, or other accents.

Along with this update, we also updated the app’s language picker to make it easier to see which translation features are available for each language.

Learn more:
New Speech Regions and Updated Language Picker in the Translator App