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Translator FAQ


What languages does Translator support?

Translator translates to and from any of the supported languages and dialects for text translation through the Translator on Azure. See the language list for text translation using Translator and speech translation using Microsoft Speech service.

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.

What is Translator on Azure?

Translator, part of the collection of Cognitive Services and an Azure service, is a cloud-based text translation API.

Translator supports text translation between any of the supported languages and dialects.

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

With translations powered by Translator, Microsoft’s Speech service offer end-to-end speech translation and supports both speech-to-speech and speech-to-text translation.

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

Can I use Translator for free or test it before I buy a monthly subscription?

Absolutely. Translator offers a subscription plan in the Azure portal at no charge. Translator is available in the Cognitive Services section of the Azure portal. The subscription is self-managed and you change the monthly subscription plan as needed. Additional subscription plans are outlined in the Cognitive Services Translator pricing webpage.

Microsoft Speech offers a free 30-day trial to test its speech translation capabilities.  More information can be found on Azure.

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.

How do I calculate the monthly volume?

For Translator text translation, 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 character count documentation.

For speech translation using Microsoft Speech services, see the Speech services pricing page.

Where do I buy a subscription to Translator?

Translator is available on the Azure portal. Payment is by credit or debit cards only, unless previously approved for invoice. Translator monthly subscription plans are outlined in the Cognitive Services Translator pricing webpage. Pricing is based on your Azure monthly subscription period and you will automatically be billed every month until you cancel your subscription.

Microsoft offers alternative purchasing options for Microsoft Partners; small, mid-size and enterprise businesses; commercial, government and academic organizations through the Microsoft Licensing Program.


Speech service

Can I customize my translations?

Yes, Translator gives users the ability to customize text and speech translations:

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

Where can I see the monthly usage?

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

Where can I learn more about the breadth of Translator products?

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

End user apps can be viewed here.

Is attribution required when using Translator?

Attribution is not required when using Translator for text and speech translation, however it is recommended in order to inform users that the content they are viewing is machine translated.

If attribution is present, it must conform to the Translator attribution guidelines.

Is my data private and secure?

Please read the confidentiality documentation.

You can also read Microsoft’s corporate privacy statement.

Can I replace human translators with Translator?

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 Translator partner page.

How do I get my language supported?

Text Languages

We add new languages periodically. In the process of adding a new language to the automatic translation system, the most important learning material is existing high-quality translations—the same text in two languages.

A significant amount, typically 1+ million words of this type of text, is needed to build a reasonable-quality machine translation system for a particular language pair. Find out how machine translation works.

Speech Languages

Speech recognition is a totally different process than translation. It requires a whole new set of data: hundreds of hours of recorded audio and their associated transcriptions and trainings of our machine learning based engines to become available.

We continue to release improvements to the quality of our existing languages and to expand on our coverage of languages from around the world so that more people can use Microsoft Translator in their own language.

Stay tuned on our blog, Facebook, or Twitter for updates to our language coverage.

What does the “in school” option mean, in the Microsoft Translator live feature?

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.

Can Translator be used with interactive bots?

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

Where can I find additional information about Translator?

We have a few resources available at no charge:


I am subscribed to Translator V2. When do I need to migrate to V3?

V2 was deprecated on April 30, 2018. It will continue to be available alongside V3.

Please migrate your applications to V3 in order to take advantage of new functionality available exclusively in V3.

V2 will be retired May 24, 2021.

View Translator V3 Documentation

How to migrate from V2 to V3

Is Translator available in China?

Yes, you can view details and pricing information on

Are there any differences between the global Translator available on and Translator available in China on

There are three primary differences between the global Translator available on and Translator available in China on 

  • Customization is not available
  • The API uses different endpoints
  • Multi-service subscriptions are not available

For more details, refer to the documentation.


Where is the documentation for Translator and Microsoft Speech service?

Go to Example apps are available on GitHub.

What protocols can developers use to access Translator?

For text translation with Translator, access is via REST. For the speech translation with Speech service, access is via REST, WebSocket. 

Why are there two keys for my Translator subscription on Azure?

Only one key is needed at a time. You are getting two keys so that you can expire a key without having any system downtime.

For example, you want to replace your primary key. The procedure is:

  1. Configure your service or application to use the secondary key.
  2. Deploy or ship it to your customers.
  3. Regenerate the primary key.
  4. (Optional) Reconfigure your service to use the new primary key.

If there was only one key at a time, your service would be down while you did the key replacement.


Where do I get a report of my consumption?

When you are subscribed to the S1 pricing tier, Pay As You Go, for Translator in the Azure portal, you receive a day-by-day report of your consumption in a .csv file in the Azure billing portal. To view the report, follow the steps below.

There is a 24-hour delay between the actual consumption and when it is displayed in the report. To see your Translator consumption, filter by Meter Category = Cognitive Services. The report will display one line per day per service.

Consumption monitoring for all of Translator subscription tiers is currently available in your Azure portal dashboard. The graphs are customizable based on the parameters and timeframe available in the portal.

For the S2, S3 and S4 pricing tiers, when you reach the monthly commitment volume for those tiers during a subscription month, your usage goes into Overage. Generally, you will see a quantity of “1” in the Daily Units column in the .csv file. You’ll know you’re in Overage when you see in the “Daily Units’ column a Quantity greater than “1”.

Learn how to download or view your billing invoice and usage data at

To view the Azure billing report (.csv file):

  1. Visit
  2. Choose the name of your Azure subscription
  3. Choose the “Download usage details” link, on the right side of the page
  4. Choose “Download usage”

Do I need to renew my current subscription plan every month?

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.

Can I change subscription plans any time?

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.

Why should I subscribe to the Global region?

Certain Microsoft Translator and third party applications may have been built using the Global region. If you are signing up for Translator in order to use a pre-built application and you specify a region other than Global, your subscription may not work. An example of applications that may not work if you sign up for a specific region other than the Global region are translation management tools. If your business or application does not require a specific region, you should select the Global region.


What is the difference between Standard Translation and Custom Translation?

Standard Translation is an easy one-step process, in which you provide an input sentence and Azure’s pre-trained models translate them into a target language. By contrast, Custom Translation is a two-step process, in which first you train your own models using training data you upload to the translation service. Once your model has been trained, you can perform the translation as you would with Standard Translation.

How does billing work for Custom Translation?

There are three billed activities that you can perform during Custom Translation:

  1. Model hosting: Hosting a model means that it is available to use for Custom Translation. You are charged a flat fee for every model that is hosted during a billing period. This is NOT pro-rated if the model is hosted for less than the full month.
  2. Training: Every time you train a model, you are charged a fee for every character in the training data. You are charged for characters in both the source and target languages of the training set, but there is a cap to how much you can be charged for any given training run, no matter how many characters are in your training data. This cap applies to each training run, i.e. you would be charged if you were to re-run the same set.
  3. Translation: You are charged for every character of text translated by your Custom Translation model.

What is the difference between the S1-S4 instance tiers and the C2-C4 instance tiers?

The S1-S4 tiers are designed to provide discounts for users, who require high volumes of Standard Translation – not Custom – every month. While a discount is offered on the Standard Translation rate, S1-S4 tiers do not include a discount on Custom Translation. The C2-C4 tiers are intended to provide discounts to customers, who regularly perform high-volumes of Custom Translation. While a discount is offered on the Custom Translation rate, C2-C4 tiers do not include a discount on Standard Translation.

I have a consistently high volume of both Standard and Custom Translation, is there any way to get a discount on both?

In order to receive volume discounts on both Standard and Custom Translation, you are required to allocate both an S1-S4 instance AND a C2-C4 instance, directing Standard Translation to the S instance and Custom Translation to the C instance.

What happens if I reach the limit of the free subscription plans?

If you subscribe to the free subscription plan, the Translator service will stop if you reach 2 million characters during a subscription month. The 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 Speech service

If I switch from the free subscription plan to the pay as you go subscription plan, do I begin being charged after I have used up my free 2 million characters?

No, if you switch from the free Translator subscription tier to the (S1) Pay As You Go subscription tier (or any of the paid Translator API subscription tiers), you are billed starting with the first character after you switch.

If I subscribe to the free or minimum commitment plans, what happens to the remaining balance at the end of the subscription month?

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


Where can I get technical support for Translator?

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 date and time you observed the issue, with the time zone
  • The entire request with its parameters
  • The entire response
  • Request identifier from response header X-RequestId
  • Client identifier from request header X-ClientTraceId

Where do I find support for Azure Cognitive Services?

You can find options for Azure Cognitive Services support here.

Where do I get billing support?

You can create an Azure support request. 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 ticket.

This service is part of Microsoft Cognitive Services