Making sense of Microsoft Translate

A post by Harriette Wight

Existuje lepší spôsob, ako začať hodnotenie, ako pomocou produktu, ktorý ste revíziu?

Want to know what my opening sentence says? Head over to Microsoft Translate.

The events industry and particularly the event technology sector have been asking how AI will transform our industry. Well Microsoft’s new PowerPoint plugin might be the start of that transformation. Microsoft Translate previewed its latest PowerPoint subtitle offering at their Build conference back in May 2017. This exciting new plugin uses AI to translate both content within the presentation as well as your presenter’s speech in real time.

Typically event organisers are still using the booth and headphone system for simultaneous translation. So when we heard about this PowerPoint plugin we had to try it.

As a speaker the plugin will subtitle your speech into a language of your choice, it can also translate your slides for you. As a delegate you can follow the presentation in your own language either by watching the subtitles on the main screen (assuming this is in your language) or by downloading the Microsoft Translate app and joining through the translator live feature.

The translator live tool is part of the Microsoft Translate app and offers 11 speech and over 60 text languages. This feature allows up to 500 people to be part of a conversation at once in any language they choose. Imagine everyone at your conference being able to communicate no matter which language they speak. Another great use for this would be for any hard of hearing delegates. The app also includes a photo translate feature (instant translation of any printed text), offline text translation and a useful phrase library.

To test the translate live feature I got Kat in our production team to help me out. Kat’s mother tongue is Slovak, here’s how it went:

 

Now unless you speak Slovakian you may think this works perfectly, and to an extent it does. Microsoft Translate takes your words and the order you say them in and translates. This meant that the order wasn’t always correct in Slovakian. I also called Kat a Cat according to Microsoft.

Kat’s thoughts

Valuable translation tool, good competitor to Google translate. I was not using it to its full  capabilities, but it seemed to cope well with the more complex Slovak words . The word order may not reflect the spoken language as accurately but overall the app performed well and allowed for a seamless conversation.

The verdict

This has the potential to be a great tool for events with international audiences. The live translator could also aid networking. The photo translation feature could support attendees with any printed collateral.

However the translation needs a bit more improvement, hopefully this is where the AI part of the solution will come into its own.