New Delhi: Microsoft India has taken a significant step towards strengthening language support by adding four new Indian languages to its Microsoft Translator. This development aims to enhance communication and accessibility in native languages, making it more inclusive and beneficial for a broader audience.
Expanded Language Portfolio
With the inclusion of Bhojpuri, Bodo, Dogri, and Kashmiri, Microsoft Translator now supports a total of 20 Indian languages. It can now translate Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. This comprehensive coverage spans nearly 95% of India’s population, bringing Microsoft closer to its goal of supporting all 22 official Indian languages.
Rajiv Kumar, managing director, India Development Center, Microsoft India said, “We believe that technology should serve as a bridge, enabling everyone to reach their full potential. We are dedicated to creating solutions that enable accessibility and broaden the reach of technology and language as a medium to empower every individual on the planet. We are happy to introduce Bhojpuri, Bodo, Dogri, and Kashmiri on Microsoft Translator and move closer to our goal of supporting 22 official Indian languages. We stay committed to supporting India’s diverse languages and culture by leveraging the most advanced AI technology to drive the country’s growth and make access to technology more inclusive.”
The expansion of Microsoft Translator holds promising prospects for various sectors. It promises to enhance education and literacy by aiding comprehension in native languages, thereby improving communication in local governance and information dissemination. Local artisans and businesses stand to benefit by reaching a broader audience, opening up new economic opportunities. Importantly, this language support expansion contributes to preserving indigenous knowledge and cultural identity by bridging the gap to the mainstream.
Accessible Translation Solutions
Users can access the translation feature through various Microsoft platforms, including the Microsoft Translator app, Edge browser, Office 365, Bing Translator, and the Azure AI Translator API for businesses and developers. Notably, companies like Jio Haptik and Koo are already utilizing the Azure AI Translator API to provide multi-language support for their services.
This update is poised to make a substantial impact, benefiting approximately 61 million people. Bhojpuri, with a speaker base of around 51 million, is prevalent in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand. Bodo, spoken by approximately 1.4 million people, finds its roots in Assam, Meghalaya, and neighboring Bangladesh. Dogri, spoken by 1.6 million individuals, has its presence in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab. Lastly, Kashmiri, with approximately 7 million speakers, is primarily spoken in Jammu and Kashmir and parts of neighboring Pakistan.
Bringing Deep Neural Networks to language translation
Microsoft has been using Deep Neural Networks to develop language models for translating and transliterating complex Indian languages. Deep Neural Networks are also sensitive to minor linguistic nuances such as gender (feminine, masculine, neutral), politeness level (slang, casual, written, formal), and word type (verb, noun, adjective). Microsoft continuously improves the translation models in line with tech advancements and usage, and releases newer, improved versions in a transparent manner.