Mozilla brings free offline translations to Firefox
Mozilla brings free offline translations to Firefox

The Mozilla Foundation has added an official translation tool to Firefox that doesn't rely on cloud processing to get the job done, but instead runs a machine learning-based process on your PC.

This is a huge step forward for a popular service that has strong ties to giants like Google and Microsoft.

A translation tool called Firefox Translations can be added to your browser. Some resources must be downloaded when translating a language for the first time. You can also download advanced templates if needed. But the actual translation work is done by your computer, not in the data center.

This is important because many people need translation in their browser when they are not connected to the Internet. It is also important because it aims to reduce reliance on cloud providers for tasks whose resources are no longer needed.

The translation function is the result of the Bergamot project funded by the European Union. In this project, Mozilla has partnered with the universities of Edinburgh, Charles, Sheffield and Tartu to develop a suite of machine learning tools that enable offline translation.

This type of work is typically performed by GPU clusters in data centers, where large-scale language models are deployed to translate user queries.

But while Google and Microsoft's cloud-based tools are accurate, fast, and have virtually unlimited processing power, sending your data to a third party for analysis and feedback poses significant privacy and security risks.

Mozilla brings translation tools to Firefox

For some people, these risks are acceptable. Others would rather not work with the online advertising giant if they don't have to.

Offline translation makes sense for anyone interested in the privacy implications of using a cloud translation service provider.

The main limitation may be the lack of language. Google Translate supports more than 100 languages. While Firefox translation is limited to a few dozen languages, Arabic is not one of them.

But let's not forget that this is the first project released by a non-profit organization and a group of academics, and not the main product of a multi-billion dollar Internet empire in the world.

Mozilla actively seeks help by providing a training path for those interested in training new models. It also requests feedback to improve existing models.

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