Microsoft Developed Widget Can Translate Web Pages
Article by George Norman
On 19 Mar 2009
The Microsoft Research Machine Translation (MSR-MT) Team has unveiled a new application in the Microsoft family of software programs, mainly the Microsoft Translator web page widget. The widget has been showcased by the MSR-MT Team to MIX09 attendees; for the time being a tech preview is available for download, but it is meant for web developers, not the day-to-day user. In the future regular users will be able to benefit from the widget as it will allow them to seamlessly translate a web page from one language to another.

“The Microsoft Translator team is very proud to announce the technology preview of an innovative offering for web page translations. Built on top of the Microsoft Translator AJAX API (also announced today) it is a small, customizable widget that you can place on your web page – and it helps you instantly make the page available in multiple languages. It provides a simple interface to anyone that visits the web page to select and translate content into a different language,” said the MSR-MT Team.


For the time being the widget provides limited language support. It can translate text content from English to: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. In the future the MSR-MT Team expects to add more and more languages. The aim here is to make these translations useful to the end user, since wee all know that machine translations can sometimes go horribly wrong (just visit BlahblahFish if you don’t think this statement is accurate). This is the main criteria that the MSR-MT Team will turn to when adding enhanced language support to the widget.

“Our goal (and that of most machine translation systems available today) is to provide what we call “useful” translations,” explains the MSRT-MT Team. “While the technology is improving month to month, it will still take a long time before it can match human translation quality. We don’t recommend using machine translation for sensitive or highly critical information.”

For the time being downloading the widget can be done only if you have an invite code. You can register for an invite, or download the widget if you already have one here.
If you would like to see the widget in action, a preview is available here.

Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Research Machine Translation Team, MSR-MT
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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