Report: AWS set to add machine-translation services for developers

It sounds like Amazon Web Services is getting ready to bring translation technology used on the Amazon.com side of the house over to AWS, where developers will be able to incorporate it into their apps.

CNBC reported Monday that AWS will likely announce the availability of a machine translation service before the big re:Invent user conference this November. As a major retailer all over the globe, Amazon.com already uses a translation service based on machine learning research, and the report suggests a version of that is coming soon.

AWS has been first among cloud rivals many times in the past when it comes to releasing new services for its customers, one of the many reasons why it enjoys a leading portion of the market for cloud services. But it’s playing catch-up here: Google has been working on computer-assisted translation for almost a decade as part of its search technology, and offers a translation API through Google Cloud Platform for its customers. Microsoft also has an API for Azure customers.

But Amazon does have a lot of experience in developing natural language processing technology, as AWS VP Swami Sivasubramanian explained earlier this month at our Cloud Tech Summit. It has used that technology to help improve discoverability of books for years, and likely has a huge data set of foreign-language books as well on which to train its models.

After building out a huge number of services for basic developer needs, like compute and storage, cloud companies are increasingly jockeying for position based on higher-level services like artificial intelligence, which requires a substantial amount of investment that most companies are not prepared to make. Google is pressing AWS and Microsoft very hard in this area with its DeepMind research, but it’s still very early in terms of understanding which AI services will resonate with developers and the public.

AWS representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

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