Mozilla has created a translation plugin for Firefox that works offline. Specifically, Firefox Translations will need to download some files the first time you convert text to a specific language.
However, you will be able to use the resources of your system to manage the translation, rather than sending the information to a data center for cloud processing.
The plug-in came about as a result of Mozilla’s collaboration with the European Union-funded Bergamot Project. Other people involved include the University of Edinburgh, Charles University, the University of Sheffield and the University of Tartu. The goal was to develop neural machine tools to help Mozilla create an offline translation option.
Mozilla has created a translation plug-in for Firefox
“Engines, language models, and page translation algorithms should run entirely on the user’s computer so that none of the data will be sent to the cloud, making it completely private,” Mozilla said.
According to TechCrunch, one of the major limitations of the current plug-in is that it can only handle translations between English and 12 other languages. Firefox Translations currently supports Spanish, Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk, Persian, Portuguese, and Russian.
Mozilla and its project partners have created a training channel through which volunteers can help, helping to form new models so that more languages can be added. They’re also looking for feedback on existing templates, so Firefox Translations is a work in progress.
For now, however, the plug-in cannot cope with the 133 languages supported by Google Translate. Moreover, Apple and Google both have mobile applications that can handle offline translations.
On the surface, it’s a bit strange that a browser, which is by definition used to access the web, would need an offline translation option. But translating text from your device and avoiding the need to transfer it to and from a data center could be an advantage for privacy and security.