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:
NEW! For our New Zealand 🇳🇿 teachers and students – we've rolled out the Maori language for Immersive Reader & translate 🎉 You can translate any text into Maori or vice-versa (we don't yet do read-aloud) Example 👇#edtech #MIEExpert #MicrosoftEDU
👉 https://t.co/2TV6nWYiOs pic.twitter.com/6IU64FjYRt
— Mike Tholfsen (@mtholfsen) December 18, 2019
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:
The Māori history and identity are intrinsic parts of all New Zealander’s cultural heritage. Today we announced that Microsoft Translator will recognize the Māori language, which will allow us all to preserve and celebrate it for generations to come. https://t.co/kxVvhqkUZH
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) November 21, 2019
Fantastic to be in New Zealand today, meeting with so many incredible innovators, including those who are applying technology to help keep the Māori language alive. https://t.co/0BYMjLiWU7
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 21, 2019
We're proud to announce the inclusion of te reo #Māori in our Microsoft Translator application which will enable instant translations of text from more than 60 languages into te reo Māori and vice versa.
— Microsoft NZ (@MicrosoftNZ) November 21, 2019
Thank you to St Joseph's School for hosting our CEO @SatyaNadella, exploring Ngā Motu in @Minecraft and demonstrating Microsoft Translator for te reo Māori. @PlayCraftLearn @SJOrakei #MSEnvision #EnvisionNZ pic.twitter.com/PddkB3WCTq
— Microsoft NZ (@MicrosoftNZ) November 21, 2019
It's been so FUN learning and growing together @SJOrakei using #NgāMotu & Microsoft Translator! Lucky to have awesome mentors @otakokaufusi @cleanrockz @WhetuPaitai @CaroBush @MSNZEducation https://t.co/s2N7abhZD7
— Bridget Casse (@BridgetCasse) November 21, 2019
Impressive that @Microsoft have launched Te reo Māori capability with Microsoft Translater – including live translation and transcription of PowerPoint presentations for audience members #MSEnvision #DiversityandInclusion pic.twitter.com/QCTV9uNilc
— NZ Tech Podcast: Voice of the Tech Community (@NZTechPodcast) November 21, 2019
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:
Miss out on the action from #MSEnvision today? Catch up on all of the keynotes and announcements right here. 👇 #EnvisionNZhttps://t.co/YHQcISgPGC
— Microsoft NZ (@MicrosoftNZ) November 22, 2019