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Get started with translation in Azure

Read this article to learn about translation in Azure.

In the previous step, we received a brief introduction to this activity. In this step, we will learn about getting started with translation in Azure.

Microsoft Azure provides cognitive services that support translation. Specifically, you can use the following services:

  • The Translator service, which supports text-to-text translation.
  • The Speech service, which enables speech-to-text and speech-to-speech translation.

Azure resources for Translator and Speech

Before you can use the Translator or Speech services, you must provision appropriate resources in your Azure subscription.

There are dedicated Translator and Speech resource types for these services, which you can use if you want to manage access and billing for each service individually.

Alternatively, you can create a Cognitive Services resource that provides access to both services through a single Azure resource, consolidating billing and enabling applications to access both services through a single endpoint and authentication key.

Text translation with the Translator service

The Translator service is easy to integrate into your applications, websites, tools, and solutions. The service uses a Neural Machine Translation (NMT) model for translation, which analyzes the semantic context of the text and renders a more accurate and complete translation as a result.

Translator service language support

The Translator service supports text-to-text translation between more than 60 languages. When using the service, you must specify the language you are translating from and the language you are translating to using ISO 639-1 language codes, such as en for English, fr for French, and zh for Chinese. Alternatively, you can specify cultural variants of languages by extending the language code with the appropriate 3166-1 cultural code, for example, en-US for US English, en-GB for British English, or fr-CA for Canadian French.

When using the Translator service, you can specify one from language with multiple to languages, enabling you to simultaneously translate a source document into multiple languages.

Optional configurations

The Translator API offers some optional configuration to help you fine-tune the results that are returned, including:

  • Profanity filtering. Without any configuration, the service will translate the input text, without filtering out profanity. Profanity levels are typically culture-specific but you can control profanity translation by either marking the translated text as profane or by omitting it in the results.
  • Selective translation. You can tag content so that it isn’t translated. For example, you may want to tag code, a brand name, or a word/phrase that doesn’t make sense when localized.

Speech translation with the Speech service

The Speech service includes the following application programming interfaces (APIs):

  • Speech-to-text -is used to transcribe speech from an audio source to text format.
  • Text-to-speech is used to generate spoken audio from a text source.
  • Speech Translation is used to translate speech in one language to text or speech in another.

You can use the Speech Translation API to translate spoken audio from a streaming source, such as a microphone or audio file, and return the translation as text or an audio stream. This enables scenarios such as real-time closed captioning for a speech or simultaneous two-way translation of a spoken conversation.

Speech service language support

As with the Translator service, you can specify one source language and one or more target languages to which the source should be translated. You can translate speech into over 60 languages.

The source language must be specified using the extended language and culture code format, such as es-US for American Spanish. This requirement helps ensure that the source is understood properly, allowing for localized pronunciation and linguistic idioms.

The target languages must be specified using a two-character language code, such as en for English or de for German.

In the following step, we will learn about translating text and speech. Remember to click on Mark as complete and then Next to continue.

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