Thursday, 21 March 2013

Machine Translation Service


The new machine translation service in SharePoint 2013 is an attempt to finally make the variations feature useful.
The feature is intended to translate published content (documents, list items, entire sites) into other languages.  It is an extension of variations, that either synchronously or asynchronously sends the content to a translation service in the cloud.  By default it is configured to use a Microsoft cloud hosted translation service, but can be configured to use other third party services.  The key to this is that it uses a cloud hosted service to take the load of your internal infrastructure.
Besides the cloud based translation, this service application offers a few other improvements to the variations feature:

  • Variations now supports up to 209 variation labels for on prem deployments and 50 variation labels in the cloud
  •  No longer required to unpublish/publish documents to get changes to sync in related resources.  List/Libraries now sync independently
  •  Localized sites now use XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF).  This is the standard and makes it easier to use third party translation services to translate your app


The architecture of this service is very similar to that of the Word Automation service; they both have similar components, for example: Timer Jobs and Document queues.  If you are familiar with the Word Automation service object model you should have very little problems using the machine translation object model.  Here is a great technet overview.
Asynchronous translation requests are handled through the document queue and a timer job.  By default the timer job is set to run every 15 minutes, but this configurable.
Like all other service applications, it can be configured through either PowerShell or the SharePoint Central Admin…but seriously, who uses Central Admin?


The following pieces are required to use the Machine Translation Service:

  •  SharePoint 2013 Standard or Enterprise
  • App Management Service is started
  • Server – to – Server app authentication is configured
  • User Profile Service Application Proxy in default group
  • User Profile Service provision and configured
  • Internet connection


The machine translation service provides the following APIs:

  • Server Object Model
  • Client Object Model
  • REST Web Services
Through all three methods you are able to translate a single file or all items in a list, library or folder either synchronously or asynchronously.  You are also able to translate a file stream (must be synchronous), for on the fly translation of uploaded content.


This new service application is a very powerful new feature for SharePoint, but like anything else comes with its own set of risks.  The two main ones that jump out at me are: Security and Reliability.  Both are fairly obvious.  On the security front, you are now sending your content into the cloud.  This puts your content at risk of being seen by people both inside and outside your organization that may not have permissions to the content.  Generally this feature will be used for public sites which require multiple language support.  This mitigates the risk somewhat as the content was always intended for public consumption.  Of course this leads into the second risk, reliability.  Remember this is a machine doing the translation, not a human.  It is basically taking each work in the source document and turning it into the equivalent word in the destination language.  This may not end up conveying the message you are looking for.  Anyone who has traveled to non-English speaking countries have seen their fair share of engrish.  You probably want someone to proof reading the translations to ensure your website doesn’t become popular for the wrong reasons.


  1. Nice post. Here is one more post explaining Machine translation service

  2. translation machine is very good, more explain about translation machine.
    Documents Translation Services

  3. It is the first site till now which has provided me great knowledge about machine translation. Though it's feature of variations is very useful. But each and every thing always have some pros has cons. No one is assured about security in it. Moreover it is not always possible to fulfill Prerequisites.

  4. Human translation is better as compare to machine or software's. Machine or software papers that has not been eliminated the errors and customer are not satisfied then use human resource proof reading and editing your documents and deliver without error.
    Translation of Documents

  5. This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it,

  6. machine translator has require a less time but human translator require a long time. Houston translation Service

  7. I saw your post its nice but i know one good translation company which provides document translation services to clients in Germany and abroad. With its more than 300 expert translators spread across different parts of the world, shantranslation ensures affordable and quick delivery of documents. For more details

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  9. Thanks for sharing about machine Translation Service.sharePoint is the variation usefull for machine.

    Translation and Migration Services

  10. Translation services are dire need of time. This service is using in big companies to meet the language translation task. You must visit website and get online services to translate it.

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  14. What does this machine translation service do?I want to get some ideas here about this as it is related to share point and it is relevant to my field also.

  15. I just love this post that explains about translation services. The are best for the students to learn creative ideas in amazing way.