If you've ever wanted to programmatically translate text from one language to another directly from code, there's a new web service from Microsoft Research you might want to try. It's the recently announced new Microsoft Translator AJAX API and web widget. The API provides automated translation of web pages and portions of web pages into 12 different languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, and Russian. The Microsoft Research team plans to add more languages over time.
The translator API can be accessed via a web widget, or using AJAX, HTTP, and SOAP protocols. The web widget provides easy-to-implement capability to provide visitors with the option to translate an entire web page into any of the supported languages.
To get started with the API, visit the API home page and register for an invite code. API documentation includes a "Getting Started" page and a well-documented interactive SDK. The documentation includes many examples that demonstrate how to implement the API within web pages using all the available protocols. The Microsoft Translator Forums are available for posting questions and discussing issues related to the API.
Machine translation cannot yet match the quality of professional translation by humans. However, Microsoft Research has been working on machine translation and natural language processing for a long time, and we can see the quality of machine translations improving. With the range of potential applications, it will be interesting to see how developers begin using this API.