Is Microsoft Translator a real threat to Google Translate?
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Has Microsoft Translator built the next champion of online translating? Should Google Translate watch out? Photo credit: Laura Rosbrow; Hand model: Gedalyah Reback

Has Microsoft Translator built the next champion of online translating? Should Google Translate watch out? Photo credit: Laura Rosbrow; Hand model: Gedalyah Reback

Here, we analyze both of their advantages and disadvantages

When Microsoft released Windows 10, it signified the company making a renewed effort to take on Apple, Google, and other competitors. The company used the debut of the new operating system to introduce exciting applications like Windows Hello, a program that uses biometrics to unlock your device without needing a password.

In concert with the release of Windows 10, Microsoft released Microsoft Translator. A competitor to Google’s Translate app, it is a quality program the Verge said is a must-have for smartwatch owners. At first, Translator was only available on Bing and Windows devices. Now you can get it for both iOS and Android. A smartwatch version is available for both operating systems as well.

Let’s take a closer look at Translator and see how it stacks up against Google Translate.

Text, Camera, and Voice Translation

Translator can translate text in 50 languages. Google Translate can do the same with over 90 languages. Although Google has more languages, the most commonly used dialects around the world are covered by both services. You can type text into the desktop, mobile, and smartwatch versions, a useful feature if you find yourself in noisy environments like a busy cafe.

The Google app can translate 37 languages by using the camera on your smartphone. The software uses optical character recognition (OCR) to identify text in photos and translate the words. Microsoft Translator has similar functionality, able to translate signs, newspapers, menus, and other text-based media.

Microsoft’s app can translate spoken words and sentences on the fly, but it needs an internet connection. Google Translate supports 32 languages with voice translation in Conversation Mode. You can also download a language pack and use the app offline. Microsoft Translator does not offer offline mode at this point in time.

Microsoft Translator also supports text-to-speech. The translation is produced in the accent that a native speaker uses, helping you better grasp the nuances of the language.

Google Translate uses an accent from the region. For instance, the English accent is more Americanized for United States and West Asia users. In contrast, a British accent is used for areas such as Europe and Singapore.

Web, Cortana, and Skype Integration

With the Google Translate Web interface, you can search in one language and have the browser display results in a destination language. The History function allows you to select a term you recently looked up. In the Web app, you can add a Google Translate selection to the browser bookmark bar.

Microsoft Translator saves each translation you process. Later, you can search History to locate one you created previously. You can also designate a translation as a Favorite for even faster access.

Microsoft Translator technology is also built into Skype Translator, a Skype app that lets you translate conversations in real-time in another language. In response to Microsoft adding this service to Skype, Google Translate subsequently upgraded their real-time translation.

Microsoft’s new personal digital assistant Cortana has also been equipped with the ability to translate almost 40 languages for Windows 10 users in the U.S. and China. Other countries are planned to be added soon. Note that you must upgrade to Windows 10 for this functionality.

Built for Enterprises

Microsoft Translator uses cloud-based automatic translation. It’s accessed by mobile apps, websites, Microsoft software like Office and Skype. Translator can be used to build applications, websites, tools, or any solution requiring multilanguage support. It allows for larger scale deployment by reducing the need for human translators. This reduces costs and makes translation more affordable for all users, which is especially beneficial for startups. Its robust, proven solution is used by enterprise customers worldwide. It adapts to enterprise workflows and products, and supports industry specific translation customization.


Microsoft Translator is a solid translation app that signifies the company’s renewed efforts to be more competitive against long-standing rivals, and consumers are benefiting from a reawakened Microsoft. The company is putting new effort into useful apps that work from desktop to mobile devices.

However, it’s similar to Google Translate in quality. Although one has an advantage on the other and vice-versa, Google is sitting on the throne when it comes to the user game for the time being. And while two giants fight, the end result is quality apps and services from both companies that benefit users on many fronts.

The views expressed are of the author.

Geektime invites global tech and startup professionals to share their opinions and expertise with our readers. If you would like to share your point of view, please contact us at [email protected]

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Gabriel Michaelson

About Gabriel Michaelson

Gabriel is a tech enthusiast that wants to share his experience. He wants his passion to become yours and appreciates your support. You can reach him @Gabemich1337

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  • Jack Smith

    The problem is opportunity for Microsoft. Almost everything is about mobile and with Microsoft being unable to gain traction with smartphones I see little opportunity for MS to expand on the consumer side.

  • Atlas

    As a professional translator I cannot agree that Google Translate and Microsoft Translator are equal in quality. Google Translate is far ahead in quality of translation. MS can never catch up with that. Most of us translators us GT not MT, despite that the MS marketing machine is trying to make inroads in our business by partnerships with some of the tools companies we use. It will not work due to their poor content quality.
    GT has way more and better translation content and especially in the different types of professional terminology in each language. It also doe snot pretend that it can deliver the best grammatical sentences, as that is impossible with any such tool. They are basically competing for the spot of who has the best dictionary, not much more. And Google is far ahead with that. MS produces numerous erroneous translations where Google much more often hits the right one. Or it is capable of showing the user choices, which MS cannot. GT is more interactive than MT, which mans users can correct the content.