Microsoft owns SwiftKey these days, so it's no surprise some Microsoft features have wormed their way into the keyboard. For example, Microsoft Translator popped up in the beta version some weeks back. Now, Translator has arrived in SwiftKey stable with v220.127.116.11.
Text translation seems like an obvious feature for a phone keyboard. It eliminates the hassle of having to swap between apps, copying and pasting when you want to say something in a language you don't speak (however infrequent that need may be). SwiftKey seems to agree, as the latest update of the keyboard's Beta version comes with Microsoft Translator integration.
Microsoft announced today that its Translator app now supports offline, artificial intelligence-powered translation in a handful of languages with what the company says is "the world's first Deep Neural Network-powered offline translation engine." The AI packs are considerably smaller than traditional language packs, and they should provide higher quality translations, too.
Outlook's so-called "add-ins" were first introduced to the app this February, but the feature was exclusive to iOS. At least, it was, until Microsoft's blog post today. To put it simply, it allows you to use features from apps like Trello, Evernote, or services like GIPHY from directly inside the app. It's sort of like Android's intents system, allowing you to quickly pass data between services, but built into Outlook.
Right on cue for those in Rio for the Olympics, Microsoft has released an update for its translator app, a few months after the previous update got ever closer to Google Translate. The new version, 2.30.112, includes the ability to change the voice used for reading out translation results, alternative translations for single words, and a phrasebook feature for fifty languages.
New option in Settings to change the voice that reads out translation results.
See alternative translations of single words. Available in 100 language pairs.
Tap on the book icon at the bottom of the home screen to quickly access key phrases in 50+ languages.
When it first launched last summer, Microsoft Translator had some potential but a lot of catch-up to do with Google's own Translate. No offline mode, no natural conversation mode, no Android Wear app, and many other missing features made me refrain from recommending it when I compared it against Translate. But Microsoft has been updating its app, bridging the gap with each new version, adding all of these features and more like Klingon support and a kickass Android Wear integration. The only major capability that was still missing from Translator's arsenal was image translation and that's finally here.
Version 2.16.82, which is already live in the Play Store (and on APK Mirror) can load images, automatically detect languages, and overlay the translation into the language of your choice on top of each element.
Many of us Android users (and Android Police readers) have been accustomed to using Google Translate to fill our language knowledge gaps, but we often forget the other challenger in the arena: Microsoft Translator. The app was first released last August and when I looked at it back then and compared it to Google's offering, I found it a worthy challenger, but one that lacked a couple of key features.
When Microsoft Translator was released a few months ago, I went through an extensive comparison between it and Google Translate and came out impressed by Microsoft's efforts, but not completely swayed. At the time, Translator had a major advantage in its Android Wear support (a gap that Google has since closed) but lacked many other features like offline functionality, camera view, and most importantly the live conversation mode. Well, Translator has now jumped that last hurdle and added natural conversation support in its app.
The mode works for a few select languages already: Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more promised to be added in the future.