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September 9, 2007

Microsoft stealth betas Windows Live Translator

Posted by David Hunter at 7:51 PM ET.

Kip Kniskern at Liveside has the details on an unannounced beta of Windows Live Translator as dug up by blogger Darren Straight. The beta is powered by Systran and is just what we have come to expect from machine translation – not too good. As an example, try translating the Stern home page from German to English. You sort of get the idea, but it is no substitute for a real translator.

Ionut Alex Chitu has more background on Systran and indicates that the translations seem to be better than those offered by Google or Babelfish (from Altavista owned by Yahoo) which are also sourced from Systran, so presumably Microsoft licensed a newer version of the code. He also indicates that there is an option to use Microsoft developed machine translation code, but I did not spot it while I was kicking the tires. Machine translation is a holy grail that many have searched for and never found, and I don’t think Windows Live Translator adds much to the quest.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Coopetition, Google, Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows Live Translator, Yahoo

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One Response to “Microsoft stealth betas Windows Live Translator”

  1. Kip Says:

    The option you are looking for is available in the 8 languages that MS currently has machine translation capabilities for, and is labeled “computer-related content”. Apparently this has to do with the machine translations being developed for MSDN, but its not very intuitive.

    Certainly lots about this beta that leaves one head-scratching.

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