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Friday, January 26, 2018

The Coolest Thing I Saw at BETT Today!

Today at the BETT Show in London I met with Mike Tholfsen to learn about some of the free products that Microsoft is making for schools. He shared some more details on the announcements that Microsoft made earlier in the week, but I was absolutely blown away when he demonstrated Microsoft Translator!

Microsoft Translator does what its name implies, it translates your text in real-time. It support translations for sixty languages. But that's not what impressed me. What blew me away about Microsoft Translator is that members of your group or assembled audience can choose the language they want your words translated into. For example, I could be writing or speaking in English and have two people reading my words in Spanish, one in French, and another in Japanese.

Microsoft Translator will translate your spoken or typed words in real-time. To get started just head to the Microsoft Translator website then choose "start conversation." From there your translation room is launched. Your audience can join your conversation by either entering using a join link or by scanning a QR code. Microsoft Translator has dedicated mobile apps. It can also be used in any modern web browser on a laptop.

Microsoft Translator isn't a one-way street. People who have joined your conversation can reply in their chosen languages and their messages will be instantly translated into your chosen language. So just like in the listening example that I gave, I could have two people speaking Spanish, one speaking French, and another speaking Japanese and all of their messages will appear to me in English.

In addition to the stand-alone website and mobile apps, Microsoft Translator is available as a PowerPoint add-in. When installed into PowerPoint Microsoft Translator will automatically subtitle your slides as you speak. More than 60 languages are available in the Microsoft Translator PowerPoint add-in.

If you work with an ESL/ ELL population, you need to try Microsoft Translator.