Tech

Microsoft Translator's new offline mode better than Google's, says Microsoft

Microsoft Translator's new offline mode better than Google's, says Microsoft

Today, in a major announcement, the company has revealed that its Translator app for Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire now includes a new capability that allows end-users and third-party app developers to download free AI-powered offline translation packs. The new neural machine language packs offer 23 percent better translations than Microsoft's standard offline language packs, and the packs are about half the size. Microsoft promises more languages will come soon.

Microsoft says it previously supported offline AI translations on some Android phones in late 2017 but this feature was limited to phones with a dedicated AI chip.

Microsoft wants to sell offline translation to other app developers, which is its usual business strategy. Fortunately, Microsoft Translator has just received a new set of capabilities that allows its users to enjoy the advantages that AI-driven translation provides without having to be online.

Chances are you mostly need a translator app on your phone while you are traveling.

More news: PM Abbasi represents Pakistan at Commonwealth meeting

Microsoft has 44 language packs in total and now 11 of them have neural translation support, though more will be added in future. The Translator app will do the rest. Microsoft assures us that the difference is barely noticeable in most cases, but the fact remains that you're more vulnerable to spotty translations if you're running offline. As usual, Microsoft is working to sell its wares more to businesses than individual users. "The Translator app will do the rest", Microsoft explains. The feature is in preview for the next three months and will move to general availability after that. Now, however, it has made enough optimizations that the same AI-powered offline language packs can be used on any phone with a powerful enough processor.

The online requirement for AI features is warranted but should also be temporary.

Whether the app gets its translations online or offline, the local feature bills the developer's existing Microsoft Cognitive Services Translator Text API subscription.

Another caveat is that the cloud-based translations you receive when you have a data connection and the offline translations won't be on the same quality level.


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