The latest release of Microsoft Translator has a lot of under-the-hood changes that most users won’t notice. One of the big visible changes was the addition of TTS (Text To Speech) for the Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean). Microsoft is first to the market for two of these languages (Japanese and Korean). The TTS is integrated with Microsoft’s Rest API for TTS, so a developer can get a TTS wav output stream fairly easily. At present, Google Translate does not support TTS for Japanese and Korean.
I had a chance to demo Microsoft’s TTS and compare it with Google’s TTS. I found Microsoft’s TTS to be better, softer on the ear and more human-like. Google’s TTS, in comparison, sounds metallic. I would have to give Microsoft the edge on the quality of the TTS. And since both Google and Microsoft are working on speech-to-speech translation, this may give the boys from Seattle an edge.
There were also some API changes in the latest release of Microsoft Translator. Click here to find out more information on the API.
I would like to thank Will Lewis from Microsoft Research for telling me about these new features, and to thank the entire MS Translator team for their great work.