Translator widget: Delivering your site to the world

About eight months back, the Microsoft Research Translator team delivered an entirely unique way of delivering your website’s pages to visitors who speak a different language with no development effort on your part. Unlike any other translation widget/gadget available at that time, the Translator widget was unique in that it kept your audience on your site, rather than redirecting them to a proxy translation service. Since then, thousands of sites have adopted the Translator widget and have been able to attract a much broader audience from around the world.

Powered by the same machine translation technology that is used by Bing, Internet Explorer, and Office, the Translator widget provides a free option to deliver a “gisting” experience to a non-native audience. While machine translation cannot replace a professional or human localization, it aims to provide a rough understanding (the gist) of the content on the page to those that cannot read the original language. The translation engine is worked on continuously to deliver better quality and more languages. You can learn more about the pioneering work being done by our researchers in this space over at the Translator group’s site at Microsoft Research. With the widget, given the on-demand nature of the translations, there is no load on your site and the freshest translations are delivered to the visitor.

Adopting the widget is as simple as copying and pasting a small snippet of JavaScript code into your site. You can customize and generate a snippet for your site at the widget adoption portal. Once this code snippet is pasted into an appropriate area of your page, the Translator widget appears on your site to your users in the language their browser is set to. This localization of the widget user interface ensures that your site’s audience always sees “Translate this page” in their language and thereby are able to kick-off the translation (as shown in the images below). The translator team is also planning to add an “automatic” translation functionality, where you can set the widget to auto-translate the page into the visitor’s browser language upon arrival.

Once translation has been kicked off, the page is translated using “progressive rendering” – a technique that ensures that the visitor can immediately get the benefit of translation without waiting for the whole page to be translated. As they navigate from page to page on your site, the pages get automatically translated, resulting in a seamless experience for your visitors. A progress bar and several other controls are displayed as well, to the visitor, floating at the top of the screen. Upon translation, hovering over the translated sentences displays tool tips that show the original source sentence, as shown in the image below. This can be useful in situations where the visitor has some familiarity with the source language.

Another interesting feature of the widget is the ability to share a link to the translated page. A visitor to a site who has translated the page to a particular language can share a link to the translated version of the page. When the recipient clicks on the link, they are taken to the page and translation to their language is kicked off automatically. For example, this page (http://viks.org/2009/06/11/instant-translations-in-bing/) can be auto-translated to Spanish by appending the code #mstto=es to the end of the URL (http://viks.org/2009/06/11/instant-translations-in-bing/#mstto=es).

So, what are you waiting for? Go get the widget and start making the Web more “worldly”!

Stay tuned to the Webmaster Center blog and the Translator team’s blog for more information on additions to the widget functionality. You can also participate in the Translator user community.

— Vikram Dendi, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Research

Join the conversation

23 comments
  1. lcarroll

    This web page is provided for my students, who are fellow seekers of self in this cosmos.

  2. clarkroger35

    Mr.Clark Roger Site my Worled  

  3. Anonymous

    The screenshots look terrible.  It's unnecessary these days to save images with the "web-safe" palette.  Save in PNG format.

  4. tonypsc

    Am wondering if this will be heavy memory consumption

  5. aish1108

    I haven't used the Google Translate tool and I won't use the New Bing Translate tool until it is packaged so that I can easily view how many times the widget is used.

    If I'm going to add some JavaScript to every page of my website i must know it is being used.

    Bing – you want to beat Google at their own game –Add analytic to your Translate widget and I'll try it in a gif.

    Thanks!

  6. free-acne-treatment-info

    Looking forward to test this translation tool.  I've got one already installed on my web but it's no harm testing new ones.  If it's is better than my present one, I'll definitely replace it.  Thanks for sharing.

  7. Anonymous

    Are there any plans to support the de facto standard class="notranslate" on HTML elements?

    What the Bing translator does with preformatted text is currently just unusable.

  8. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for the insight regarding Bing translator. We have been debating how to offer our canvas prints to those in other countries but didn't know quite how to deal with the language variations without re-directing to other web pages. Using this snippet makes the choice easy.

  9. Anonymous

    It doesn't work on a Office Live website…

    How can we use it??

  10. vik

    @Walter The images are now fixed. Thanks for highlighting that.

    @tonypsc Due to the fact that all the heavy lifting is done on our servers – it should be pretty lightweight for the site

    @aish1108 We certainly would love to provide such functionality. Currently a number of our users are using their own analytics mechanisms to track this. Thanks for the feedback and stay tuned!

    @jimi We look forward to hearing about your experience. This is the first translation widget that keeps your users on your site – and we think it is a much better experience for your audience.

    @Thomas Scholz We do not touch any element that has translate="no" parameter set. We also do not translate content inside several other tags (pre, code etc) Try it!

    @aurel This is something we are working on with the Office Live team. Check our forums or blog for updates on this.

    Vikram Dendi, Microsoft Translator

  11. dan.browne

    "When the recipient clicks on the link, they are taken to the page and translation to their language is kicked off automatically." – that is one hell of a feature! Keep it up!

  12. vik

    @Thomas Scholz Thanks for clarifying. I will bring this feedback back to the dev team as we continue to update the BV service as well as our APIs. Stay tuned to our blog for updates on this.

  13. Sassyqarla.com

    Hello,

    we already e-mailed two times for Bing News inclusion, but still no reply or confirmation.

  14. NAZCAR

    great.. 'm gonna test it

  15. anat

    How can I check the translation quality before installing the translator inside my blog?

    Tx,

    Anat

  16. SEO_Expert

    Hello,

    we already e-mailed two times for Bing News inclusion, but still no reply or confirmation. sames to me…

  17. My-BookCafe_Fantasy_Fiction

    Wow. The auto translate feature will be fantastic. I am looking forward to it.

    I am a big fan of translator widgets since we sell books in different languages. These devices are bringing the world together in a way that has never been done before. It is a joy to be able to read websites in languages other than English. And in alphabets other than Latin. The other day I read something on a Chinese site. Amazing.

  18. Anonymous

    Hi Vikram, firstly : Great widget ! not only is its look sleek and enhances a users site , aside from providing the user w/native  language translation , it is an app which will surely be integrated into many sites which consider their native speaking users needs . However, I have one question : Why wasnt Hindi included amongst the languages being offered for translation ? There are a multitude of Hindu bloggers in the cybersphere and I believe that Hindi should have been integrated into this widget. For someone to know how to add the language of their choice at the end of the URL as specified above is out of the question , as many users can barely upload a template , let alone know how to do this – so, will more languages be integrated and made visible on this app or what ? It shouldnt be left w/ so few choices . Japanese ? African ? & Hindi of course .

    Thank you again , ( btw : the color choices for this can be customized further once a user generates the code if they know where the color values are , so as to match it exactly to their site or close to it :)

    Best wishes & I hope u will integrate more language options in the drop down menu !

    Thanks V.

    M.

  19. Anonymous

    thanks a lot it's very helpful

    very

  20. novintabligh

    Nice info, I am going to use it.

Comments are closed.