Ever since a release of neural machine translation (NMT) to everyone last year, the Microsoft Translator team has been hard at work to improve translations in Microsoft Translator and its supported products. It was announced yesterday via the Microsoft Translator blog that a milestone has been reached, as NMT was used to make translations more accessible in 10 new languages, and much more.
NMT now powers translations of Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Sweedish, and Turkish. This brings the list of NMT powered translations to 21 languages. Additionally, all of the API traffic for Chinese and Hindi is now powered by NMT by default and developers do not need to take any actions to use it.
Microsoft notes that thanks to NMT, there is an increase in translation quality:
Microsoft, Microsoft Translator, Translator
Because of the scarcity of available training data between languages and the exponential complexity of building and running dedicated systems for each language pair, machine translation systems use English as a “pivot language” to translate from one language to the other. This means that each time you ask a machine translations system to translate from, say, Chinese to Spanish, the translation system usually translates Chinese to English, then translates the English to Spanish.