NEW: Te Reo Māori Supported With Microsoft Translator

UPDATE 19th December: Great to see that Māori translation is now being supported in a wider range of applications inside of Office365. Today, I see that Mike Tholfsen tweeted that translation to/from te reo Māori is now supported inside of Immersive Reader:

This is another important step to making this language accessible to a wider audience and delivering all of the benefits of Immersive Reader from an accessibility and learning aide perspective.

Yesterday saw the exciting announcement from Brad Smith that Te Reo Māori is now supported by Microsoft Translator. In his blog post, Brad wrote:

Today, in New Zealand, 15% of the population is Māori yet only a quarter of the Māori people speak their native language, and only 3% of all people living in New Zealand speak te reo Maori.

This new translation support was announced at St Joseph’s Orakei School in Auckland with Satya Nadella in attendance:

What excites me is this is the culmination of 14 years of engagement from the Microsoft NZ team to deliver better native support for Te Reo Māori across the Microsoft offerings. I’ve personally been involved in the project around Ngā Motu, our Te Ao Māori world inside of Minecraft: Education Edition where we worked closely with Whetu Paitai and his team at Piki Studios which not only created the world, but also a fully translated Resource Pack for Minecraft: Education (or Mahi Maina) for an immersive reo Māori experience.

To learn more about Ngā Motu and the journey of whanaungatanga check out my earlier blog post.

With the inclusion of Te Reo Māori into Microsoft Translator, users can now translate back and forth from English and Māori, but also from other languages into Māori. Powering these translations is Microsoft’s Neural Machine Translation technologies:

Te reo Māori will employ Microsoft’s Neural Machine Translation (NMT) techniques, which can be more accurate than statistical translation models. We recently achieved human parity in translating news from Chinese to English, and the advanced machine learning used for te reo Māori will continue to become better and better as even more documents are used to “teach” it every nuance of the language. This technology will be leveraged across all our M365 products and services.

Here are some tweets around the announcement:

More details in this Microsoft News Centre annoucement. You can also see Will Lewis, the Principal Architect for Microsoft Translator, talking about this technology at the 1hr 57min mark of this video in the following Tweet:

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