Two days after Google made their dramatic announcement that they were shutting down their Translate API, Microsoft made an announcement of their own (click here to read the full announcement).
We released an update to the Microsoft Translator service today, changing the previously enforced throughput limits. For the vast majority of our API users, this change has increased the throughput limits.
As a side note: the Microsoft Translator API is here to stay.
The MT team, headed by Chris Wendt, is part of Microsoft Research. Read more about this group here. Microsoft has taken a much more solid, less hyped approach to MT than their flamboyant competitor, Google Translate. Microsoft has even scored a few industry firsts, such as the release of the first Haitian Creole MT. And as I reported in a previous GTS blog post, Microsoft was the first company to release English to Japanese and Korean TTS.
Microsoft is well positioned to take a leadership position in MT. Microsoft had been involved in computational linguistic research well before Google was even conceived. Microsoft has an incredible wealth of knowledge in the language industry, having developed grammar and spelling checkers in many languages; and having localized software products in hundreds of languages. With the huge installed base of MS Office , Microsoft has a powerful channel in which it can promote new translation and language solutions. Indeed, Microsoft MT is deeply integrated with MS Office 2010.
Unlike Google, Microsoft already offers commercial licenses for its Translator API. And as I mentioned in a previous blog post, they can provide custom MT server solutions for enterprises. MS does have less languages than Google, currently with about 34 languages. But I would expect that number to increase soon.