The addition of the service is a direct threat to Altavista’s Babel Fish translator. And just like the latter, the Live Translator is based technology from Systran and work in the same way. Users can input a text (the limit is 500 words on Windows Live Translator) or select the Web page they want translated.

Microsoft’s service offers support for 11 languages: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese simplified, Italian, Korean, Russian, Arabic and Dutch. There are 26 possible combination, most of them including English.

The "computer related content" option is worth noting: checking the box will prevent technology-related words from being translated.

Apparently Microsoft is still having problems in keeping up the service. Earlier today we gave the service a try but each translation was replaced by the following message: “500 Internal Server Error”. 

If you want to try it out, click here