Admin considerations for the modern Translator feature in Office

Starting with the Version 1710 release of Office 365 ProPlus, we're replacing the current in-client translation features with a modern Translator feature set powered exclusively by the cloud-based Microsoft Translator service.

Initially, Translator is only available in Word. For more information, see Translate text and documents to another language within Word. Translator eventually will be available in the other Office apps where client translation features currently exist, such as PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel.

As the admin or IT Pro responsible for deploying and managing Office in your organization, you're probably wondering what this change means for you.

Overview of Translator

The new Translator feature provides several major benefits for most customers, such as the following:

  • Source languages are detected automatically.

  • Multilingual documents are supported.

  • Users can look up translations for selected words, phrases, and other document selections.

  • Users can insert translations back into the document with the formatting and fidelity preserved.

  • Users can create on-demand translated copies of documents directly in the app.

Note that the above list is only a sample. The specific functionality and behavior of Translator may depend on the app, to accommodate scenario or workflow differences.

Additionally, the default text translation language support is increased to the full 60 languages supported by Microsoft Translator, including an initial 11 languages powered by Microsoft Neural Network-based translation, and with more languages automatically enabled over time.

Over time, additional functionality might be added to Translator to better assist users working in non-native languages.

Changes to legacy translation features in Office

There will be some loss of functionality in the change to modern Translator, compared to legacy translation features. For example, you won't be able to do any of the following with the initial release of modern Translator:

  • Perform offline or local look-ups of words or phrases using installed bilingual dictionaries.

  • Use the Mini Translator to translate an individual word when hovering over the word.

  • Configure custom translation service providers, such as on-premises or third-party providers, which are currently configurable per language pair (via the Research Pane).

  • Enable or disable specific languages or language pairs beyond the default set. For example, disabling one of the languages, or enabling an additional language.

Actions admins can take to configure translation capabilities available in Office

If you want to use the new modern Translator feature in Office, there is nothing you need to do to prepare for this change. When you update to Version 1710, Translator will be available to use.

But, if you would like more time to prepare for this change, or better configure Translator in your organization, you might want to consider the following options:

  • Deploy a customized ribbon if you'd like your users to have easy access to the new translation commands. Note that the new Translator feature uses different toolbar control IDs (TCIDs) than the legacy translation features.

  • Continue to use the existing translation features Office, instead of the new modern Translator feature. To do this, download the latest Group Policy template files and enable the new Use legacy translation features policy setting.

  • Disable all online-based translation features, including Translator and the legacy translation features. To do this, use Group Policy and enable the Do not use online machine translation policy setting and disable the Use online translation dictionaries policy setting.

Additional information about Group Policy settings for translation features

The following table provides additional information about the Group Policy settings related to translation capabilities.

Policy setting name

Description

ADMX/ADML file name

Path1

Use legacy translation features

This policy setting allows you to use legacy translation features in Office apps, such as Word, instead of the Translator feature, which uses the cloud-based Microsoft Translator service.

Legacy translation features include the following:

  • Translation of the entire document, by using the browser-based Bilingual Viewer.

  • Translation of selected text, by using the Research pane.

  • Translation of an individual word when hovering over the word, by using the Mini Translator.

You may need to use legacy translation features in special cases that require extra configurability, such as when using customer translation providers.

If you enable this policy setting, translation commands, such as those on the ribbon or in shortcut menus, will use the legacy translation features instead of the Translator feature.

If you disable or don’t configure this policy setting, translation commands, such as those on the ribbon or in shortcut menus, will use the Translator feature instead of the legacy translation features.

Note: This policy setting only applies to apps and versions of Office, such as Office 365 ProPlus, that support the Translator feature.

Office

Microsoft Office 2016\Miscellaneous

Do not use online machine translation2

This policy setting allows you to prevent online machine translation services from being used for the translation of documents and text through the Research pane.

If you enable this policy setting, online machine translation services cannot be used to translate documents and text through the Research pane.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, online machine translation services can be used to translate text through the Research pane.

Word

Microsoft Word 2016\Miscellaneous

Use online translation dictionaries3

This policy setting allows you to prevent online dictionaries from being used for the translation of text through the Research pane.

If you enable or do not configure this policy setting, the online dictionaries can be used to translate text through the Research pane.

If you disable this policy setting, the online dictionaries cannot be used to translate text through the Research pane.

Word

Microsoft Word 2016\Miscellaneous

1 All paths start with User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\

2 For backwards-compatibility reasons, if this policy setting is enabled but the "Use legacy translation features" policy setting isn't enabled, the modern Translator feature will be completely disabled, since Translator doesn't currently support an offline mode. To use the legacy translation features but without online machine translation, enable both this policy setting and the "Use legacy translation features" policy setting.

3 If this policy setting is enabled but the "Use legacy translation features" policy setting isn't enabled, there is no effect on the modern Translator feature, since Translator is purely machine translation and doesn't use translation dictionaries.

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