Translation

SwiftKey on Android now has two-way translation baked in. Qué bien

Posted by | Android, Apps, artificial intelligence, keyboard apps, machine translation, Microsoft, microsoft translator, SwiftKey, Translation, Translator | No Comments

The Internet is of course amazing if you want to send messages across borders. But different languages can still put a wrinkle in your conversational flow, even with all the handy translation apps also on tap to help turn zut alors into shucks!

So Microsoft -owned SwiftKey is probably still onto something with a new feature launching today in its Android app that bakes two-way translation right into the keyboard — which should save a lot of tedious copy-pasting, at least if you’re frequently conversing across language barriers.

It’s not clear whether the translation feature will be coming to SwiftKey on iOS too (we’ve asked and will update with any additional details).

Microsoft Translator is the underlying technology powering the core linguistic automagic. So SwiftKey’s parent is intimately involved in this feature addition.

Microsoft’s tech does continue to exist in a standalone app form too, though. And that app is getting a cross-promotional push, via the SwiftKey addition, with the company touting an added benefit for users if they install Microsoft Translator — as the keyboard translation feature will then work offline.

(SwiftKey had some 300M active users at the time of its acquisition by Microsoft, three years ago, so the size of that promotional push for Translator is potentially pretty large.)

The translation option is being added to SwiftKey via a relatively recently launched Toolbar that lets users customize the keyboard — such as by adding stickers, location or calendar.

To access the Toolbar (and the various add-ons nested within it) users tap on the ‘+’ in the upper left corner.

With translation enabled, users of the next word predicting keyboard can then switch between input and output languages to turn incoming missives from one of more than 60 languages into another tongue at the tap of a button, as well as translate their outgoing replies back the other way without needing to know how to write in that other language.

Supported languages include Italian, Spanish, Germany, Russian and Turkish, to name a few.

And while the machine translation technology is doing away with the immediate need for human foreign language expertise, there’s at least a chance app users will learn a bit as they go along — i.e. as they watch their words get rendered in another tongue right before their eyes.

As tech magic goes, translation is hard to beat. Even though machine translation can often still be very rough round the edges. But here, for helping with everyday chatting on mobiule messaging apps, there’s no doubt it will be a great help.

Commenting on the new feature in a statement, Colleen Hall, senior product manager at SwiftKey, said: “The integration of Microsoft Translator into SwiftKey is a great, natural fit, enhancing the raft of language-focused features we know our users love to use.”

Powered by WPeMatico

FB Messenger auto-translation chips at US/Mexico language wall

Posted by | Apps, artificial intelligence, Facebook, facebook messenger, Facebook Translation, Mobile, Social, TC, Translation | No Comments

Facebook’s been criticized for tearing America apart, but now it will try to help us forge bonds with our neighbors to the south. Facebook Messenger will now offer optional auto-translation of English to Spanish and vice-versa for all users in the United States and Mexico. It’s a timely launch given the family separation troubles at the nation’s border.

The feature could facilitate cross-border and cross-language friendships, business and discussion that might show people in the two countries that deep down we’re all just human. It could be especially powerful for U.S. companies looking to use Messenger for conversational commerce without having to self-translate everything.

Facebook tells me “we were pleased with the results” following a test using AI to translate the language pair in Messenger for U.S. Facebook Marketplace users in April.

Now when users receive a message that is different from their default language, Messenger’s AI assistant M will ask if they want it translated. All future messages in that thread will be auto-translated unless a user turns it off. Facebook plans to bring the feature to more language pairs and countries soon.

A Facebook spokesperson tells me, “The goal with this launch is really to enable people to communicate with people they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, in a way that is natural and seamless.”

Starting in 2011, Facebook began offering translation technology for News Feed posts and comments. For years it relied on Microsoft Bing’s translation technology, but Facebook switched to its own stack in mid-2016. By then it was translating 2 billion pieces of text a day for 800 million users.

Conversational translation is a lot tougher than social media posts, though. When we chat with friends, it’s more colloquial and full of slang. We’re also usually typing in more of a hurry and can be less accurate. But if Facebook can reliably figure out what we’re saying, Messenger could become the modern-day Babel Fish. At 2016’s F8, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg threw shade on Donald Trump saying, “instead of building walls, we can build bridges.” Trump still doesn’t have that wall, and now Zuck is building a bridge with technology.

Powered by WPeMatico

Google brings offline neural machine translations for 59 languages to its Translate app

Posted by | Android, Apps, artificial intelligence, deep learning, Google, Google Translate, iOS, Languages, Mobile, mobile app, Translation | No Comments

Currently, when the Google Translate apps for iOS and Android has access to the internet, its translations are far superior to those it produces when it’s offline. That’s because the offline translations are phrase-based, meaning they use an older machine translation technique than the machine learning-powered systems in the cloud that the app has access to when it’s online. But that’s changing today. Google is now rolling out offline Neural Machine Translation (NMT) support for 59 languages in the Translate apps.

Today, only a small number of users will see the updated offline translations, but it will roll out to all users within the next few weeks.

The list of supported languages consists of a wide range of languages. Because I don’t want to play favorites, here is the full list: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian, Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jannada, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh.

In the past, running these deep learning models on a mobile device wasn’t really an option since mobile phones didn’t have the right hardware to efficiently run them. Now, thanks to both advances in hardware and software, that’s less of an issue and Google, Microsoft and others have also found ways to compress these models to a manageable size. In Google’s case, that’s about 30 to 40 megabytes per language.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft also announced a similar feature for its Translator app earlier this year. It uses a very similar technique, but for the time being, it only supports about a dozen languages.

Powered by WPeMatico

SignAll is slowly but surely building a sign language translation platform

Posted by | american sign language, Computer Vision, Diversity, Europe, Gadgets, hardware, machine learning, Sign Language, signall, Startups, TC, Translation | No Comments

 Translating is difficult work, the more so the further two languages are from one another. French-Spanish? Not a problem. Ancient Greek-Esperanto? Hard. But sign language is uniquely difficult because it is fundamentally different from spoken and written languages. All the same, companies like SignAll are working hard to make accurate, real-time machine translation of ASL a reality. Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Bilingual? Tarjimly lets you help a refugee or aid worker right now

Posted by | accelerator, Mobile, refugee, Startups, tarjimly, TC, Translation, Y Combinator | No Comments

 All over the world, language barriers are limiting the ability of refugees and immigrants to seek help, and aid workers to provide it. Tarjimly is a new service that connects people who speak one language but need to speak in another, with a person who speaks both — in just a couple minutes. They’re part of Y Combinator’s latest batch and are gearing up for a proper launch. Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Timekettle’s WT2 real-time translation earpieces enable ordinary conversation across language barriers

Posted by | Gadgets, Mobile, Startups, TC, Translation | No Comments

At TechCrunch’s event in Shenzhen last month, we had a chance to test out the WT2, a clever and ambitious device from startup TimeKettle. It’s a pair of wireless earpieces; each person in a multilingual conversation wears one, and they translate what’s said into the language spoken by each participant. Essentially it’s a Babel fish, though admittedly a rough draft of one. Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Quizlet launches a redesign with an eye towards international expansion

Posted by | Apps, edtech, Education, localization, matt glotzbach, Mobile, quizlet, Startups, study sets, study tools, TC, teaching apps, Translation | No Comments

Students get into a game of Quizlet Live. Quizlet, the popular app that lets students create interactive study sets and prepare for tests in any subject, is unveiling a redesign today, including a new website, logo and redesigned mobile apps soon to come. The new Quizlet was created with an eye on international expansion. The San Francisco edtech startup now offers translated and localized versions of its study tools in German,… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Google Translate gets in-app translations on Android, offline mode on iOS

Posted by | Android, Apps, Google Translate, iOS, Mobile, smartphones, TC, Translation, word lens | No Comments

Google Translate - Tap to Translate animated Google is launching an update to its Translate apps for iOS and Android today.
There are three main parts to today’s announcement: offline support for iOS, Tap To Translate on Android, and Word Lens support for Chinese across platforms.
With this new version, the Translate team is bringing offline support to iOS. This feature, which comes in pretty handy when you are traveling and… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Smartling acquires Jargon to help mobile developers ready their apps for international markets

Posted by | acquisition, AJ Cihla, Developer, Enterprise, Fundings & Exits, Jack Welde, Jargon, Mobile, smartling, Startups, TC, TechStars alumni, Translation | No Comments

Jack Welde Smartling, the translation tech company, has acquired TechStars alumni Jargon on Crunchbase which makes tools for mobile developers who want to “localize” their apps for different international markets, and the devices and app stores that are relevant in each one.
New York-based Smartling is known for its “translation management system” software, and marketplace of… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico