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Microsoft Translator FAQ


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.

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 more than 60 supported languages.

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 Presentation Translator, Microsoft Translator live feature, Skype Translator, and the conversation feature of the Microsoft Translator iOS and Android apps.

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.

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

Translator is available on the Azure portal. Payment is by credit or debit cards only, unless previously approved for invoice. Translator subscription plans are outlined in the Cognitive Services Translator pricing webpage.

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


Speech service

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

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

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.

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

End user apps can be viewed here.

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.

Please read the confidentiality documentation.

You can also read Microsoft’s corporate privacy statement.

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.

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 www.aka.ms/Translatorforbots

Learn more about Microsoft’s Bot Framework at dev.botframework.com.

We have a few resources available at no charge:


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.

View Translator V3 Documentation

How to migrate from V2 to V3

Yes, you can view details and pricing information on Azure.cn.

There are three primary differences between the global Translator available on Azure.com and Translator available in China on Azure.cn: 

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

For more details, refer to the Azure.cn documentation.


Go to docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cognitive-services. Example apps are available on GitHub.

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

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.

Good practice is to replace your keys on a regular basis (every 6 months or whatever is appropriate based on the sensitivity of your data). You should also replace keys when anyone who has access to the keys leaves your business or team. Finally, you should obviously replace them if you believe they have been compromised in some way, or accidentally written to a log or posted to a public GitHub repo.

Both the primary and secondary keys can be regenerated in the Azure portal. Select your subscription, and then the Keys pane. There are two buttons at the top of the keys pane, to renew either one of the keys. Be careful not to renew the key for your currently deployed app or service – there is no way to get your old key back once you renewed it. There is also no option to move the same key from one Azure account to a different one.


When you are subscribed to the S1 pricing tier, Pay As You Go, for either Translator  or Translator Speech API 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 https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/billing/billing-download-azure-invoice-daily-usage-date

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

  1. Visit https://account.windowsazure.com/Subscriptions
  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”

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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


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

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