- Thursday, Microsoft introduced an offline translation app for Android devices.
- Powered by a deep neural network, a form of machine learning, the free app allows for "near online-quality" translation without any internet connection, the company wrote.
- The product is part of Microsoft's broader research efforts in deep learning and artificial intelligence, which resulted in recent pet projects like Fetch, an image recognition app that can learn to detect subtleties the more people use it.
By taking its translation capabilities offline, people can use the app when traveling, particularly in places where Internet access is either unavailable or too expensive. Right now, the application can translate nine languages —simplified Chinese, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese — but the company has promised more are on the way.
Though, for some, this may take the fun out of traveling in a foreign country, it is a large advancement in the realm of machine learning. Without the power of the Internet, a reasonably sized app effectively employees artificial intelligence. That is nothing to shrug your shoulders at.
Many tech companies are working to advance machine learning, saying that it could help solve the world's most difficult challenges. Consumers will continue to benefit as companies release other solutions that are the culmination of advanced computing research and improvements in artificial intelligence.