The difficult moment that Firefox is going through is well known. In recent years, it has progressively lost users to Chromium-based browsers, such as Edge or Chrome itself.
To beef up its offering, Mozilla’s browser now has a built-in translator that doesn’t rely on cloud-based processing of requests to do its job, but rather performs machine-learning-based processing directly on the computer.
Firefox now has a translator offline
The translation tool, called Firefox Translations, it can be integrated into the browser by installing a browser extension. For your first use with each language, you will need to download some resources.
Unlike what Google and Microsoft translators offer, built into the browsers developed by these companies, the actual translation work is done locally by the computer and not in GPU clusters in distant data centers, where translation models would be deployed. very extensive language to translate a user’s query.
The main purpose of offline translation is not to carry out this task without the Internet, which would eventually be useful in very specific cases. Rather, the goal is to reduce dependency on cloud-based service providers for privacy reasons.
This initiative arises as a result of the Bergamot Projectfunded by the EU, in which Mozilla collaborated with several universities to develop a set of machine learning tools, which would make offline translation possible.
While the cloud-based tools commonly used for these purposes are generally accurate and fast, Firefox’s translations are somewhat more crude, but functional, fulfilling the main purpose of making text understandable.
One notable difference from competing services is the language offering. Google Translate supports more than a hundred and Firefox Translations supports barely a dozen: Spanish, Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk, Persian, Portuguese and Russian.
Although its scope is smaller, it is still a significant first step, with a proposal that works under a different paradigm, regardless of the commercial logic of its competition.