Yammer's Mobile App Speaks More Languages

Microsoft's enterprise social networking platform now features mobile app translation services and supports more languages on its Web client.

Yammer mobile app

Microsoft continues to break down language barriers in business.

Yammer has rolled out "message translation in both the iOS and Android Yammer apps, powered by Microsoft Translator," Adrianne Martinson, product manager, said in a statement. The technology, which hails from the Microsoft Research division, powers the company's translations apps for Windows and Windows Phone along with Bing Translator.

"Whenever a Yammer conversation in these apps includes a language different from the user's default language setting, a translate button will appear below the initial post," said Martinson. Tapping the button converts the entire conversation in the default language.

The change can be reversed without losing the original conversation. "Clicking 'show original text' will revert the conversation back to the initial languages," she said.

In addition, the mobile Yammer apps now support 12 languages, namely Chinese Traditional and Simplified, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and U.S. English, said Martinson. Affected apps include Yammer for iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets, Yammer Now for iPhone, and Yammer Notifier for Windows.

The company's enterprise social network has also bumped up the number of supported languages on its Web client to 28, said Martinson. Last year, Microsoft announced its platform supported 23 languages with translation services for 37 languages.

According to Martinson, the 28 supported languages include Arabic, Chinese Simplified and Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), Russian, Turkish, Romanian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and U.S. English.

Users can switch from the default English (U.S.) setting using the language picker located in Access Options or in the right-hand Yammer pane. Sign-up and public pages have also been localized, including support for right-to-left messages in Arabic and Hebrew.

Language translation is not new to Microsoft. Yet, as of late, the company has been pushing to make it an increasingly integral part of its communications technology strategy.

In late May, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president of Skype and Lync, showed off the company's progress during a live demonstration of the upcoming Skype Translator app. In a video call with Diana Heinrichs, a German colleague, Skype Translator provided subtitled, near-real-time audio translations between English and German with few errors.

Pall later revealed that the app leveraged Microsoft Translator and "neural network-based speech recognition" to provide the real-time audio translation services. "Skype Translator opens up so many possibilities to make meaningful connections in ways you never could before in education, diplomacy, multilingual families and in business," said Pall in a statement.

Microsoft plans on first releasing Skype Translator as a Windows 8 beta app sometime in 2014.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...