I’m about three months late to the party on this, but in light of our previous forays into machine translation, I think it’s still worth mentioning. In my defense, this item just hit my in-box yesterday (don’t ask me about finding time to check my RSS feeds)..
The Microsoft Research Machine Translation Team (MSR-MT) released in September a real-time translation service for Windows Live Messenger. Full details are available here,
The service is simple to use. Just add the translation bot (email@example.com) to your contact list. Open a chat window with the bot and set your preferences in response to its prompts. You can then either work with the bot alone, or invite someone else into the conversation and have the bot translate your conversation.
I’ve had a “one-way” conversation with the bot utilizing my high school German, and with that limited and very rusty background, I could find no serious problems in ten minutes of futzing with it. The comments on the blog post announcing its release suggests that this technology is continuing to make progress as it matures.
It’s exciting to see our technology in use to break down barriers among people. Check out MSR-MT’s work and let them know how you feel about it.