Microsoft announced on Thursday that it has started rolling out updates for its Translator app on Android and iOS. The update not just brings stability and performance improvements, but it also bears with itself an offline AI powered translation service for Android and an OCR for iOS.

The Microsoft Translator app has been available on most of the leading platforms for a while now. It was first rolled out for Android and iOS back in August, 2015. Many users found that the service was great and it was, many a times, compared to the streamlined and easy to use user experience of Google Translate. Since then, Microsoft Translator has been one of Google Translate’s toughest rivals.

The apps on Android and iOS have been showing significant upgrades in each new update since their initial release. We saw features like natural live conversation come out with each progressive update that have made Translator a very popular service on most of the platforms.

The latest updates bring in two separate features for Android and iOS users. Android users get offline translation while iOS folks get OCR.

Offline translation isn’t exactly a new concept. It has been showcased by major translation apps extensively and even on the Windows version of Translator. But Microsoft has announced now that the feature will be available for Android users. And not just that, the new service uses, what Microsoft calls “the world’s first Deep Neural Network-powered offline engine.” You can download any of the supported languages and have fun translating.

The concept is, in fact, an offline implementation of the working of Translator from a grand scale to a smaller scale. The company has been using machine learning technology for almost a year to power the Microsoft Translator apps, Skype Translator and Bing Translator.

Apparently, the offline translation service  is “near online-quality,” the company boasts. That said, the company feels the need to add that translation quality naturally varies depending on the language and topic. The languages supported are Chinese (Simplified), English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

iOS users, on the other hand, received an OCR to translate plain text via images. This service, too isn’t anything new, but it’s the first time it is being served with iOS. Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish are the supported languages.

The app is available for free on the Google PlayStore or the Apple Store. There’s no word from the big guys on whether or not these features will be enhanced on their own platform, yet.


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