Vikram's "Muse"

“And this one thing is what gives the confidence, however out of place this confidence might seem, to be absolutely unworried about the permanence of this bond. How can you somehow lose your reflection?” - Vikram

All your Translation are belong to Us

Mike tells me that this is what he translates every time he finds a new translation service. So, I decided that I would run it through the new translator service that went into silent beta recently.

German: Alle Ihre Übersetzung gehören zu uns

Arabic: كل جهاز الترجمة تنتمى بنا

French: Appartiennent tous votre traduction sont à notre

Dutch: De vertaling zijn behoren tot ons

Chinese: 您翻译都属于我们

So Mike, what do you think?

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Having traveled thousands of miles from my origin point, I found that being multilingual was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Growing up, having learnt several languages while being mostly oblivious to that fact – I am astounded at how incredibly powerful our brain is. This fact hits home much harder these days – as I watch researchers and linguists in my new team butting their collective (and considerable) intellects against the hard problems of getting computers to learn how to translate natural languages. Millions of dollars and innumerable bald patches later – you get to where a polyglot teenager might still do better at translating the phrase “Tabbed Browsing” better than the engine (I doubt they can do it to such hilarious effect though).

There are some very clear benefits to getting Machine Translation right. The harnessable processing power available to us through computers is great and at low cost. To be able to use that to make large volumes of information available to everyone irrespective of what language they speak would be a wonderful thing is this increasingly flat world. The MSR MT engine has been very successfully deployed to deliver thousands of knowledge base pages to users worldwide. You can also see that technology in action when you use the checkbox for the “computer related text” on the Live Translator.

As the volume of information continues to explode, this is a great time to be betting on technologies like MT. Of course, such technology only gets better with training and usage and so I hope to use it whenever I need things translated. This is not that uncommon these days, what with strange error codes that Vista throws up from time to time being discussed and solved on german and other language websites. In fact, I have written a bookmarklet that allows me to get the translation of the current web page in one click (this one does english to french, you can use other language pairs as appropriate). Right click and add it to your Links folder (if using IE) or your bookmarks toolbar (on Firefox).

One great thing about statisitcal MT (which is what is used by MSR for this engine) is that it can quickly learn and translate in new languages. Maybe one of these days the person who fills (filled?) this role might want to contribute to the database.

Update: The official blog for my team is now up on MSDN

Update 2: I added a widget to the right that allows for translation of any page into another language. Give it a whirl!

Update 3: Translated now using the Microsoft Research Translation Engine

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