Microsoft’s continued mobile app development on iOS and Android continues seemingly non-stop and today’s release of Microsoft Translator shows they are both serious about it and really good at it. Microsoft Translator allows you via typing or speaking, translate between 50 different languages and it comes with out-of-the-box support for Android Wear, something that is not supported in Google Translate. It also has far smoother audio playing of the translated text than Google Translate, sounding far less “robotic” than Google’s offering. If you are looking for a translation app, this is one to seriously consider. It’s free and in my testing of it today has performed flawlessly.
In many ways, Microsoft Translator is a mimic of Google Translate. By either typing in text to the app or speaking to it, it will translate from one language to another. Overall that’s not all that special. What is special however is that Microsoft Translator supports Android Wear. From your smartwatch you can speak into the app and it will give you the translation right on your wearable. If you want to hear the translation instead of reading it, you will still need to have your Android phone out of your pocket as smartwatches don’t have speakers on them (yet). Once that comes to
be, this app will be extremely powerful right on your wrist.
The other big thing that this app has over Google Translate is the less-than-robotic sounding reading of a translation. Google Translate sounds computer generated while Microsoft Translator sounds slightly computer generated. It makes for a far more natural sounding experience. More importantly, it seems to do this in the dozen or so languages that I tested out in the app.
According to the release notes of the app, Microsoft translate supports an extensive list of languages:
Arabic, Bosnian (Latin), Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese(S), Chinese(T), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong Daw, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Quer’etaro Otomi, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Cyrillic), Serbian (Latin), Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh, and Yucatec Maya.
To be fair, that is far less than the 90 that Google Translate covers so if you have a particular language that you need to translate, you need to check which of the apps will cover it for you.
Finally, if there is a translation that you use often, you can pin that translation within the app and it will also be on your Android Wear device.
The one key element that is missing from Microsoft Translator that Google Translate offers is the ability to point your Android phone’s camera at a sign and have it translated. That, for me, is a huge help when I’m traveling around the world and I can easily “read” a sign at a train station or airport.
For a first rev, Microsoft Translator is mighty impressive. It certainly doesn’t feel like a 1.0 app and it has a very nice set of robust features built in. It’s not perfect and depending on your use case, may not be the best solution for you. But at a cost of exactly zero dollars, it’s well worth giving it a shot, especially if you use an Android Wear device.