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eBay is a truly global marketplace with 174M buyers in 190 markets. So, our primary goal is to connect buyers and sellers around the world. It is crucial to our seller community to cross the language barrier and amplify reach. Machine translation is one of the key contributors to promoting cross-border trade on eBay. It is a considerable remover of friction.

We opened the machine language translation technology as an API in August 2018 to allow our developers to integrate it into their applications and experiences. The first API release was experimental. Initially, we enabled Mandarin to English and English to Mandarin translations. This was for us to test and research capabilities. We recently decommissioned the experimental API, and our recommendation to the developer community is to check the beta release of the Translation API.

Translation API Crosses the Language Barrier

The new API has a slightly modified interface compared to the old one. Also, it supports additional languages. All necessary information is provided in the API documentation. The true power of the API is the underlying technology. The new models are based on in-house AI technology and state-of-the-art algorithms optimized for the e-commerce context. They translate item titles and descriptions. More than 1.4B listings is a massive amount of data to process. Our models are trained to address all of the challenges that sellers provided content, item titles and descriptions, bring.

Both buy and sell integrations could benefit from translation capabilities. We are now engaging customers and encouraging the adoption of the new API. New language pairs, as well as support for translating item descriptions that include HTML markup, are coming soon. Stay tuned!

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