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Microsoft launches new translator app

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New York: Technology giant Microsoft has launched a translator app that can be used on a wide variety of devices and supports 50 different languages.

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Google’s Translate app, on the other hand, supports only 27 languages for text and voice conversion.

Available for iOS and Android platforms, the app called Microsoft Translator, supports phones and tablets as well as the Apple Watch and smartwatches that run Android Wear, CNET online reported.

One can type or speak the word or phrase to be translated. In response, the app shows the translated text on the screen and then speaks it too.

Text can also be copy-pasted from and to other apps for translation.

Microsoft has already been serving up language translation via its Bing website along with apps for its Windows Phone mobile operating system and its Windows 10 desktop software.

The company also offers translation through its Skype Translator programme, which is soon due to become part of the Skype app itself.

With the new app, Microsoft is entering into Google territory, which has long offered translation services on the web as well as for iOS and Android.

With Microsoft Translator, you can speak directly into your watch to get an instant translation in any of the 50 different languages.

The app can correctly pronounce the phrase for you through your watch. And all your translations and settings are synchronized between your watch and your phone.

(IANS)

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Microsoft Employees Decry ‘996’ Chinese Work Culture

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

A group of Microsoft employees has come forward to support Chinese tech workers on the gruelling ‘996’ culture, writing a petition in defence of a trending GitHub repository that is being censored in China.

In a letter written on web-hosting service Github, owned by Microsoft, the employees have asked the company to keep the “996.ICU” GitHub repository uncensored, The Verge reported on Monday.

The repository “996.ICU” is a reference to the working hours that tech workers in China are protesting — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

The ICU refers to employees who work under these grueling hours, eventually ending up in the Intensive Care Unit at hospitals.

“The “996.ICU” repository was established in March by Chinese tech workers who were protesting extreme overwork,” said the report.

The “996” philosophy has been endorsed by the tech billionaire and Alibaba Founder Jack Ma.

Several local Chinese browsers have already blocked access to 996.ICU, including Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Qihoo 360.

Microsoft, that owns GitHub, has not blocked the repository till now.

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

“We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We know this is a problem that crosses national borders,” wrote employees in the petition.

“Another reason we must take a stand in solidarity with Chinese workers is that history tells us that multinational companies will pit workers against each other in a race to the bottom as they outsource jobs and take advantage of weak labour standards in the pursuit of profit,” they added.

Microsoft workers called on Chinese tech companies to comply with local labour laws, which limit their workers to 40 hours a week.

“We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone,” they said.

Also Read- Apple Spent Over $30 mn on Amazon Cloud in Q1 2019

Since 996.ICU is hosted on GitHub, the repository can’t be blocked at a network level without blocking the entire site, which would be catastrophic to Chinese software developers.

“The ultimate decision of whether to risk China’s GitHub access falls to Microsoft, which so far hasn’t indicated a firm position on the protests,” the report added.

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days.

“If we find things we like, 996 is not a problem. If you don’t like (your work), every minute is torture,” he said in a blog post. (IANS)