Haitian Creole Machine Translation now at Bing

by Translation Guy on January 29, 2010

Men carry water in Port-au-Prince in earthquake aftermath

With the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, aid workers face numerous challenges. Haiti was light on infrastructure even before the devastating earthquake last week, and that infrastructure includes translation resources and technologies. The Microsoft Translator Team has responded with an emergency launch of a machine translation system.  Check out Vikram Dendi, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Translator from the Microsoft Translator Official Team Blog for further details:

“In the current crisis in Haiti there are a number of initiatives to rapidly build software in order to assist in humanitarian aid. Responding to community requests for a machine translation (MT) system to translate between English and Haitian Creole, our team has been hard at work over the last few days. I am glad to announce that an experimental Haitian Creole MT system is now publicly available via several services and APIs powered by Microsoft Translator technologies. We will continue working on improving the system, but we hope, meanwhile, that in spite of the experimental nature – it will be of use in the relief efforts.”

Haitian Creole has just been added to the list of available translations for the Bing Translator and other Microsoft Translator powered services (including the Messenger Translation Bot):

The typical approach to adding new languages involves significantly larger amounts of training and a higher threshold for quality testing, but the team decided that the upside warranted making the system available to the community at the earliest. As stated above it will be improved subsequently.

This is an experimental system put together in record time. While our typical approach to adding new languages involves significantly larger amounts of training, a higher threshold for quality testing – we decided that the upside warranted making the system available to the community at the earliest, and continue improving it subsequently. We are working diligently to keep improving the quality, but bear with us if you encounter problems. You can always contact us at mtcont@microsoft.com with feedback. Our user and developer forums are also available to discuss any issues you encounter.

Good work by Bing. Also interesting to note is how statistical machine translation tools can be developed so rapidly, which means that the translation isolation experienced by many less commonly used languages is about to end.  Adding machine translation boosts the power and influence of a language in a dramatic and interesting way. Getting the word out in Haitian Creole is especially important as Haiti struggles to recover and rebuild.


  1. Nigel Lucas says:

    Who knew that there was so much going on in the world of translation! It’s just amazing to see so much news coming out of something that I never think about. No, not Haiti, but TRANSLATION. You’re blog is very interesting to me Ken. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Ken, I’ve been connected to Haiti for about 15 mos. as a fundraiser for an orphanage, prospective adoptive parent (I’ve been dossier ready for 6+ mos.), and as a mental health consultant. (I’m a child/family psychologist.)

    A friend of mine with World Vision suggested that I take a look at your blog post. I’ve been doing a lot of consciousness raising (See Haiti Relief Fundraiser – South Puget Sound on Facebook.) and fund-raising.

    I appreciate you putting a completely different spin on the negative Haiti news and turning this into something positive. The extraordinary work you’ve put into the blog in order to stay connected with others is very apparent. Thanks you!

  3. Lee says:

    Bing sux…Google all the way…

  4. Bill2 says:

    The people who perished in the earthquake are only the beginning. Many many more will die because they are trapped, because there are no medical facilities, because of disease, because of lack of water, shelter and food.

    There are charities there now who are saving lives and need your money to save more.

    If ever there was a chance for you to be a hero it is now – give generously.

  5. Cid the kid says:

    Are there any reports on how the earthquake started i mean, no waring signs whatsoever???

  6. Kent Small says:

    Earthquakes don’t give warning signs. They just start…

  7. Genie says:

    If I could afford it, I’d be there now helping. I hope others better off than myself are willing to go out there and try to make a difference.

  8. Doug says:

    Recently I saw a state of the art mobile operating theatre and hospital for military deployment at 48 hours notice on some programme – why is it not being sent?

  9. Jenny says:

    I avoid Microsoft like the plague (personal choice)

  10. Randal G says:

    Red Cross volunteers are assisting the injured survivors of the Haiti earthquake and supporting hospitals struggling to cope with this emergency. DONATE!

    • Ken says:

      I spend all my free time pursuing photography, particularly wet-plate, which is an early photographic process that I find absolutely compelling. Some of my wet-plate friends are holding a benefit workshop that shutterbugs may enjoy and do good work at the same time.

      TINTYPES for HAITI fundraising event, Saturday February 20, 2010,
      Rochester, New York:

      This is a rare opportunity to witness the entire wet-plate collodion
      process from pouring collodion to the varnished plate and experience
      having your portrait made by masters of the process in a 19th c. style
      skylight studio — while contributing to relief efforts in Haiti.
      Participants will take home a 5″ x 7″ tintype portrait.

      We are offering a special price of $100. ALL PROCEEDS from this event
      will be donated by Scully & Osterman to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund by
      February 26, 2010. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is being run by former
      Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was created at the
      behest of President Obama. They oversee the CBHF through their
      respective nonprofit organizations, the William J. Clinton Foundation
      and Communities Foundation of Texas.

      More details are on our website about The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the
      day’s activities and how to reserve your spot:

      We need your help to make this happen. Hope to see you here February 20!!
      Warm regards,
      Mark and France

      email address: sculloster@gmail.com

      France Scully Osterman
      Scully & Osterman Studio
      186 Rockingham St.
      Rochester, New York 14620
      (585) 461-0141

  11. Pat Berls says:

    In Scotland, ‘bing’ is generally used to refer to a spoil heap from a mine i.e. a slag heap. In other words, a pile of useless rubbish…

  12. Mark Demanno says:

    One parasitic banker gets $10million and we send these poor people in desperate need $6million…

  13. Follow-up:
    Wanted you to know that we exceeded our goal and raised $1100 for The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Thank you, Ken for letting others know about it!
    It is an exhausting weekend, of course, but exhilarating to be helping in our own way. The tintypes we are making will be published on our website: http://www.collodion.org
    You can read more about The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and donate directly here: http://www.clintonbushhaitifund.org/
    Warm regards,
    France & Mark
    (a.k.a. Scully & Osterman)

  14. I found this very helpful. I have been learning the ropes on my own and taking advice wherever I can get it.

  15. Mumble says:

    This is my first visit here, but I will be back soon, because I really like the way you are writing, it is so simple and honest

  16. Christinemsz says:

    Your site is like a blond with a brain. I love it. All jokes apart, very informative article and equally impressive design.

    • Ken says:

      Christinemsz, unless grey is the new blond, I deny both charges!

LiveZilla Live Chat Software