AI boosts Microsoft Translator for iPhone

AI boosts Microsoft Translator for iPhone

Yolanda Curtis
April 19, 2018

Microsoft announced today that its Translator app now supports offline, artificial intelligence-powered translation in a handful of languages with what the company says is "the world's first Deep Neural Network-powered offline translation engine". In addition, Android developers will now be able to integrate online and offline AI text translations into their apps by making use of the new Translator Local Feature preview easily. These packs will offer higher quality translations, which are up to 23 percent better, and about 50 percent smaller than the previous non-neural offline language packs.

According to the official blog post about this breakthrough, "The new capabilities allow both end-users and third-party app developers to have the benefit of neural translation technology regardless of whether the device is connected to the cloud or offline". 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. The Translator app will do the rest. These NMT packs are available in Translator's most popular languages and new NMT languages will be added regularly.

As of todays, only 11 AI-powered offline packs are available to download on Android and Amazon Fire devices (Arabic, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai), and they should be available "soon" on iOS. As usual, Microsoft is working to sell its wares more to businesses than individual users. It is also being said that the difference between the online and offline translations are "barely noticeable".

Furthermore, the new Translator Local Feature is now available in preview for Android developers. 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.

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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