Microsoft has just launched native language translation for Cortana in Windows 10 in the U.S. and China regions. The Microsoft Translator app is still available of course and offers several noteworthy features such as camera translation and offline translation functionality but Cortana can now access the Microsoft Translator app’s technology and provide translations directly from the Cortana interface in a more personalized and speedy manner.
According to the official announcement, users can say phrases such as, “Hey Cortana, translate where is the nearest taxi stand in French?” and “Hey Cortana, how to say where is the closest grocery store in Spanish?” to request a translation of a word or phrase. Here’s hoping more natural English phrases such as, “Hey, Cortana, how do you say hello in Japanese” and “Hey, Cortana, what does hello mean in Japanese?” are also supported. Currently 38 languages (including Klingon) are supported and more will continue to be added as the service is improved.
Users can also type in their translation requests, though if someone is doing this, they may as well just open the Translator app itself which also allows for more nuanced translations and editing of phrases. If, for whatever reason, Cortana misunderstands the user or has trouble translating, the assistant will perform a Bing search and open up a web page in an attempt to find the correct information.
It will definitely be interesting to see this functionality develop more over time as more features are added and it rolls out to wider markets. As someone who is studying Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, I’d love to have the ability to add recently searched words to a flashcard app for further study and practice. How would you like to see Cortana’s language translation skills evolve? Let us know in the comments below. お返事お待ちしております。Further reading: Apps, Cortana, Microsoft, Microsoft Translator, Windows 10