Microsoft has announced that its Translator app for Android, iOS and Amazon Fire tablets will now support AI translations even when the device is offline. Translator comes really handy when you traveling to a foreign country and you are not familiar with the local language. But since the connectivity is mostly limited when you traveling, users are left with basic translations on their mobile applications.
With the new udpate for Microsoft Translator, the Redmond-based software major wants to change that narrative altogether. Microsoft says its Translator app will be able to use sophisticated algorithms and computational power for translation even when the device is not connected to internet. The app will run a slightly modified version of its neural translation when offline. The update is active on Android and Amazon Fire with iOS devices get the support once Apple approves it.
Interestingly, Microsoft will able to do this on any device and it won’t need a modern processor or dedicated neural processing unit to achieve this. It says the new neural translation features provide far more human-like translation the the older app could not support. It says machine translations has been surpassed by machine learning-based translations and it is natural stop for the company’s translator app.
As part of the update, Microsoft is releasing updated language packs for Arabic, Chinese-Simplified, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai. It notes that these language packs take less space than the old ones and plans to add more languages in the coming months.
Microsoft says it first tried these machine learning-based translation systems on Huawei-made smartphones, which include AI co-processor with Kirin 970 CPU on select models. Since then, it has re-engineered the application to work even on phones that lack modern hardware or support for dedicated AI co-processor. Microsoft is also making these offline capabilities available to other app developers on Android, who can use these resources within their apps at a cost.
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Android apps can call the Microsoft Translator app in the background to offer translation and then display result to users. This could be used various search engines and websites going forward. Microsoft says the app will use offline machine learning data to provide offline translations but when the user is online, the queries will be parsed through Microsoft cloud. Google Translate, the key competitor could soon add support for its own AI algorithms and machine learning datasets to introduce similar functionality on its app.