Skip to main content

Microsoft Translator FAQ


See the language list for both the Microsoft Translator Text API and the Translator Speech API.

Developer oriented language lists, including language codes can be found in our documentation.

Language lists for consumer apps can be found on our consumer website.

Microsoft Translator, part of the collection of Cognitive Services and an Azure service, is a cloud-based API offering two sets of APIs – Translator Text API and Translator Speech API.

The Microsoft Translator Text API supports text translation and text-to-speech automatically translates between any of the more than 60 supported languages.

Additional functionality includes language detection, transliteration, bilingual dictionary, and customization with the Custom Translator (Preview).

The Microsoft Translator Speech API is the world’s first end-to-end speech translation API and supports both speech-to-speech and speech-to-text translation.

It is the same API that powers the speech translation capabilities in the Presentation Translator, Microsoft Translator live feature, Skype Translator, and the conversation feature of the Microsoft Translator iOS and Android apps.

Absolutely. Microsoft Translator offers a subscription plan in the Azure portal at no charge. The Microsoft Translator Text and Speech APIs are available in the Cognitive Services section of the Azure portal. The subscription is self-managed and you change the monthly subscription plan as needed.

New Azure portal users can sign up for a free 30-day Azure Account, which includes a $200 USD credit to spend towards any Azure service, which includes the Microsoft Translator API.

For the Microsoft Translator Text API, the volume you are billed for is the number of characters in the input. Every Unicode code point counts as a character. Every character of the input counts. Each translation of a text to a new language counts as a separate translation. The number of queries, words, bytes, or sentences is irrelevant.

What counts is:

  • Text you pass into the Translate, TranslateArray, TranslateArray2, GetTranslations, GetTranslationsArray, Dictionary Lookup, Dictionary Examples, Transliterate, and TransformText method
  • A repeated translation, even if you have translated the same text previously
  • All markup: HTML, XML tags, etc.
  • An individual letter
  • A space, tab, markup, and any kind of white space character
  • Every code point defined in Unicode

To estimate your monthly volume, take the total characters to translate, multiply it by the number of languages you want to have it translated into, then take the number and spread it over the maximum number of hours or days you are able to wait for completion.

As an order of magnitude, this FAQ contains about 6,000 characters; a 30-page document has around 17,000 characters; the seven Harry Potter books comprise about 60 million characters.

More information on how we count characters for the Translator Text API can be found in our documentation.

For the Microsoft Translator Speech Translation API, all of the audio data (in seconds of audio), including silence, submitted to the Microsoft Translator service counts towards the subscribed monthly transaction balance.

For the new Microsoft Speech services (Preview), see the pricing page.

The Microsoft Translator API is available on the Azure portal. Payment is by credit or debit cards only, unless previously approved for invoice.

For enterprise customers who qualify for an Enterprise Agreement (EA) in the Microsoft Volume Licensing Program, please inquire through your company’s procurement department. The Microsoft Translator API can be added to the EA at any time. There are two separate Microsoft Translator API offers.

Translator Text API

Translator Speech API

Microsoft Speech services (Preview)

Pricing is based on your Azure monthly subscription period and you will automatically be billed every month until you cancel the Microsoft Translator API subscription.

Yes, Microsoft Translator gives users the ability to customize translations:

Build a custom language model based on your pre-existing translated text that reflects your domain, terminology or style using Custom Translator (Preview). Learn more

You can monitor, view metrics and add Azure alerts for your Azure services in your user account on Azure. Read more in the sources of monitoring data in Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Translator supported business products are listed in the “Products” menu item above.

End user apps can be viewed here.

Yes, the Microsoft Translator attribution is required when using the Microsoft Translator API – Text Translation and Speech Translation. Follow the requirements outlined in the Microsoft Translator attribution guidelines.

Microsoft takes your privacy seriously. Please read the full Microsoft Translator privacy statement.

When connecting to the service, customers can use the unencrypted, http:// protocol or the https://, SSL-encrypted protocol. The latter uses a 2,048-bit RSA key and the implementation is not linked, and therefore not susceptible to the security risks of Open SSL.

Microsoft Translator follows the GDPR processor commitment. We support your GDPR compliance via new controls. Learn more about GDPR

No. Machine translation is generally used where the quality-level requirement is not as stringent as where human translation is required. Use machine translation where the quantity of content, speed of content creation (such as user-generated content in blogs, forums, etc.), and budget (or lack thereof) make it impossible to use human translation. It caters to a segment of the market for translation needs that, thus far, could not be made economically feasible or could not be made available with a very short turnaround time.

Machine translation has been used as a first pass by several of our language service provider (LSP) partners, before using human translation; it can improve productivity by up to 50 percent. For a list of LSPs, please visit the Microsoft Translator partner page.

Microsoft Translator evaluates the quality with the BLEU (bilingual evaluation understudy) standards and our own benchmarks (both automatic and human evaluations). We are constantly improving our machine-learning engines and language models.

Depending on multiple variables, such as length and type of text translated, language pairs (source and target), industry lingo, or the domain in which Translator is used, results will vary greatly for any vendor offering a machine translation solution.

When you select the “in school” option the session will default to a locked “Presentation” mode, where only the creator of the conversation can speak, and everyone else is in “listen” mode. This setting is available to protect children’s privacy as per COPPA regulations as the spoken conversation is recorded for product improvement purposes.

Yes, Translator can be used with the Microsoft Bot Framework to create interactive multilingual bots. You can use bots to facilitate and streamline activities such as international customer support and internal readiness. View Translator code samples in the Bot SDK v4 preview library on GitHub at

Learn more about Microsoft’s Bot Framework at

We have a few resources available at no charge:


Go to Example apps are available on GitHub.

For the Microsoft Translator Text API, access is via REST. For the Microsoft Translator Speech API, access is via REST, WebSocket.


No, you will automatically be renewed at the current pricing every month until you change or cancel the subscription. You are billed at the end of a subscription month.

If you subscribe to the free subscription plan, the Microsoft Translator service will stop if you reach 2 million characters during a subscription month for the Text Translation API, and 10 hours if you are subscribed to the Speech Translation API. The Microsoft Translator service will start again at the beginning of your next subscription month or when you change your subscription to a paid plan.

See the pricing details for the unified Speech services (Preview)

The characters left over in a subscription month are lost, there are no remaining balance rollovers, credits or refunds.

Yes, and you will lose any remaining balance in the plan when you change plans. Also, at the end of each subscription month, you will lose any remaining balance you have in the current subscription.


We have a few resources available at no charge:

Please check the above resources first; if you don’t find an answer, post your question on the forum. For questions related to an error, please include the time the error occurred (including the time zone), the date, a copy of the error message, and a snippet of the code.

Visit the Azure billing and subscription FAQ webpage first and if you need immediate assistance, log into your user account in the Azure portal and click on the ‘Help + Support’ icon at the top right corner of the webpage to submit a support request.

This service is part of Microsoft Cognitive Services