Sometimes you may feel like there's nothing worth reading on the Web, but at least there's plenty of material you can read and understand. Millions of people around the world, in contrast, speak languages that are still barely represented online, despite widespread Internet access and improving translation technology.
Perl, Delphi, and Microsoft's VBA are by some margin the most-disliked languages among developers. Developers on Stack Overflow have made it clear that they don't want to work with Perl, the nearly 30-year-old programming language created by Larry Wall. The language was popular in the 1990s but has lost favor to Python, which is widely used at Google and is popular with data scientists. Not far behind Perl in the developer community and jobs site's figures as the most-disliked language are Delphi and Microsoft's VBA. Stack Overflow gathered its data for ranking the most-disliked languages from its Developer Story feature on its Jobs page, which allows users to add tags for languages they would like to work with and languages they would like to avoid.
Microsoft's recent move to open-source its once Windows-exclusive PowerShell appears to paying off, with the language now popping up in the top 50 of the Tiobe index of the world's most popular programming languages. PowerShell's 2016 Linux and macOS debut followed current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's assertion that "Microsoft loves Linux" and former CEO Steve Ballmer concession that Linux actually wasn't a cancer. Since then, Microsoft brought SQL Server to Linux, open-sourced .NET, brought Bash to Windows. And last year Microsoft made PowerShell an Ubuntu'snap' or a containerized software package. The open-source push appears to be helping PowerShell become more popular among developers, showing up for the first time in 45th place in Tiobe's most popular programming languages.
At places like schools, hotels and tourist attractions, Microsoft Translator can help up to 100 people hold a live conversation in nine different languages. Imagine you're on a guided tour in Chartres cathedral in France along with tourists from Brazil, China, Russia and Germany -- but none of you speaks French. For the last few decades, you'd each need your own tour guide. A new app from Microsoft aims to flatten this multilanguage barrier, though. The Microsoft Translator app, running on your phone but relying on a network to Microsoft's servers, can translate your tour guide's words into eight other languages.
Microsoft hopes to release a mobile app before the end of year to translate multi-lingual conversations involving groups of speakers in real time. Microsoft's new speech-recognition record means professional transcribers could be among the first to lose their jobs to artificial intelligence. Whereas the Microsoft Translator mobile apps that are available today can translate conversations involving two speakers, Microsoft says by the end of the year the new app will support multiple speakers using nine languages. The firm demoed a prototype of a mobile app powered by Microsoft Translator that showed three people engaged in a conversation, each speaking a different language, French, English and German. Each speaker had a phone app, which displayed written text, showing the real-time translation of the other person's speech, as shown below.