Skype Translator: Breaking down language barriers

Microsoft Translator Hub

Microsoft Translator Hub implements a self-service model for building a highly customized automatic translation service between any two languages. Microsoft Translator Hub empowers language communities, service providers and corporations to create automatic translation systems, allowing speakers of one language to share and access knowledge with speakers of any other language. By enabling translation to languages that aren’t supported by today’s mainstream translation engines, this also keeps less widely spoken languages vibrant and in use for future generations. This Azure based service allows users to upload language data for custom training, and then build and deploy custom translation models. These machine translation services are accessible using the Microsoft Translator APIs or a Webpage widget.

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Microsoft Translator Labs: Contextual Thesaurus

This is a prototype Contextual Thesaurus developed by Microsoft Research. Actually, it’s quite a bit more than that: it’s an English-to-English machine translation system that employs the same architecture that the Microsoft Translator uses when translating different languages. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first large-scale paraphrasing system anywhere.

Read more about the Contextual Thesaurus  or try it yourself.

Wikipedia: Thesaurus.

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Microsoft Afkar (beta)

Afkar is an Arabic word means “ideas”. Microsoft Afkar gives Arabic users from all over the world the chance to play with cool new tools and ideas coming out of Cairo Microsoft Innovation Lab.

New tools and ideas can pop up any time so stay tuned!

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WikiBhasha (beta)

WikiBhasha is a multilingual content creation tool for Wikipedia. Developed by Microsoft Research, WikiBhasha beta enables Wikipedia users and contributors to explore and source content from English Wikipedia articles, to translate the content into a set of target languages, and to use the content with user additions and corrections for contribution to the target language Wikipedia. The content creation workflow is flexible enough to accommodate new content creation, at the same time preserving reusable information, such as references and templates.

WikiBhasha beta is a powerful multilingual content creator. It has an easy to use, intuitive user interface, and enables easy and quick translation of articles from English to more than 30 other languages that are supported by Microsoft’s Machine Translation system and Microsoft’s Collaborative Translation Framework.

I actually had such thing in mind. 😮 Seriously, no kiddin’! Maybe I should write down my thoughts and sell them :P.

There is so much information on Wikipedia but every language/nation has more, less or extra information about a topic. Some people only look at the Dutch version of Wikipedia and if they can’t find what they are looking for they say: “Nah, it’s not on wikipedia”. Most of the times if you click on English or any other language you actually find your information, but few people search like this.

For example:

Oorlel – NL Wikipedia
Earlobe – EN Wikipedia

(Bharatanatyam, say what?! 😀 )

I hope this WikiBhasha will improve the Wikipedia quality!

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Idea: combining OCR with traditional translation techniques

Wouldn’t it be cool to have an option to translate images. If you have a look at the screen shot above you will notice that most of the normal text is translated but the most essential part, the menu, is built up with images.

The idea:

  • A check-box whether or not to enable the image translation
  • The translating service downloads all the images and places them in a queue
  • The service tries to translate the original text with Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
  • New translated images could be placed on top of the original image (or just replaced) or if you hover a menu item a translated alternative text or title could pop-up with the translated text

Give me some credits if you have implemented this or link me if you have found a service that does this already 😉