Microsoft Translator in the Classroom
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Microsoft Translator in the Classroom

I’m Will Lewis, I’m a Principal Program Manager
with the Microsoft Translator team. And recently we had a group of students who
were being hosted at the University of Washington, a group of Chinese students in particular
Chinese undergraduate students, and they were visiting the University of Washington
for a few days. They brought them over here to MSR for a brief
time to introduce them to the research that is being done at Microsoft Research. So we actually had them come to a talk that
I was giving on what we do – on speech translation. So the translator live feature is the feature
allows you to create what we call a virtual room where people can have conversations in
multiple languages. So one of the ways we host this is through
PowerPoint – so using the Presentation Translator. So on the screen is part of this add-in and
actually shows a QR code that people can use to join from their own devices. And so what happens is while I’m talking they
will see the transcripts on the screen, if I choose to have them on the screen, and then
they will also see the transcripts on their local devices in the language of choice. And so when I talk you hear the Mandarin actually
being spoken as I talk. [Playback of Mandarin translation] I can speak while showing a PowerPoint deck, and it will show the transcripts on the screen at the same time will allow people to join
from their own devices. [Xiaodong speaking in Mandarin] So when Xiaodong asked his question, you see
the transcript of what he’s asking on the screen in English not in Mandarin. The students were completely amazed by this
feature where they saw the transcripts of me talking – they were showing up on the screen
– then they were seeing them on their own devices. And then they were seeing them in Chinese
script as I was talking and then at one point I turned on the audio so they could hear the
Mandarin being spoken as I was speaking English. So this feature is particularly important
in the classroom because it allows teachers or lecturers or whatever to give a talk or
give a discussion in the class in their native language. So for students who are non-native speakers
who are maybe are recent immigrants or maybe visiting here – maybe they’re visiting scholars,
for instance – they don’t know the language well, they have access then to the content
that’s being discussed because they could see the transcripts in their own language.

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