SharePoint 2019 public preview is out!
It brings most of the SharePoint Online experience to the on-premise environment. But as a follow-up to the announcement 4 weeks ago about the retirement of the machine translation service and possible end of Variations, in SharePoint 2019 the list of deprecated features includes this:
Machine Translations (and Variations)
The Machine Translation Service will remain supported, but deprecated, for the SharePoint Server 2019 Public Preview release.
This is the second shoe to drop from the Variations centipede. This means that the Machine Translation Service is still there in SharePoint 2019 and they will repair it if it breaks, but no new features will be developed. Among the features that will not be developed is the ability for modern sites to participate in Variations, and for modern pages to be translated using the Machine Translation Service. And since "Classic is dead like Latin" you can expect all new features to be produced as Modern pages and to have less and less of SharePoint supported by Variations before the plug is finally pulled.
Some people are saying Microsoft wouldn't drop these essential features without a replacement. The SharePoint 2019 announcement does not suggest any alternative for those that need the feature. The SharePoint Online deprecation announcement does suggest investigating the Bing translation APIs, but that suggestion simply will not work. I will spare you the obligatory ad, you know where to find the one alternative to Variations