Microsoft is bringing new AI-powered offline language packs for its Translator apps on Android, iOS and Amazon Fire today. This is a pretty big milestone as these high-quality translation models previously required an Internet connection to work, or a dedicated AI chip such as the one found on the Huawei Mate 10.
“Building on this initial work, the Translator team was able to further optimize these algorithms, allowing them to run directly on any modern device’s CPU without the need for a dedicated AI chip,” the Microsoft Translator team explained today. These new offline neural machine translation (NMT) packs are not only capable of delivering better translations (up to 23% better according to Microsoft), but they’re also about 50% smaller than the previous non-neural offline language packs.
As of todays, only 11 AI-powered offline packs are available to download on Android and Amazon Fire devices (Arabic, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai), and they should be available “soon” on iOS. Support for Windows devices is also coming at some point, though no ETA was given today.
In addition to these new language packs, the team also announced today a new Translator local feature preview for Android, which will allow developers to integrate offline NMT translation to their Android apps. You can learn more about how this new feature on the dedicated GitHub page.