Microsoft Translator App gets ‘Speech Regions’ and other features: Hear text-to-speech playback in local accents and more

Microsoft Translator App
Translator app “speaks” in local accents. Pic credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Translator App for iOS and Android smartphones has received a major update. Besides several new features, “Speech Regions” will allow users to hear text-to-speech translations in local or regional accents.

Understanding a signboard or instructions written in a foreign language will now be even easier with the Microsoft Translator App. The iOS and Android iterations of the platform now offer translated text in the regional accent of the user’s choice.

Microsoft introduces Speech Regions that “communicate” in understandable accent:

The translator app that Microsoft offers to Android and iOS smartphone users, will now “talk” in an accent the user understands better. Officially, the company is calling the feature “Speech Regions”.

The new feature delivers verbal translations from text to speech in regional or local accents. For example, users listening to English translations can choose to hear it in American, British, Australian, or other English accents.

Incidentally, Speech Regions are not limited to the English language. Microsoft Translator App promises online and offline translations for over 70 languages. However, it is not immediately clear just how many languages does the Speech Region feature supports.

Reports, however, confirm that besides English, Spanish is another popular language that has quite a few local accents. Microsoft claims the new feature will help travelers as well as people who are trying to learn words and phrases. Moreover, the app already offers to facilitate near-fluent conversations with people who do not speak the same language.

To use the Speech Region, just download or update the Microsoft Translator App. Thereafter, head to “Select a language” and then select “Speech Region”. The app then presents a selection of voices that speak in a particular accent.

The new OTA update for the Microsoft Translator Apps extends text translations and gets multiple new features:

Besides Speech Regions the new update for the Microsoft Translator App has received quite a few new features. Microsoft has also reportedly updated the language picker interface making it easier to see which languages are available and each feature they support in the app.

Some of the features that are available in the app include text translation, speech translation, speech auto language detection, image translation, offline translations, and text-to-speech. Below is the list of features that the app reportedly offers through the new update:

  • Text translation into over 70 languages*, for online and offline use
  • Camera translation to translate text within photos and screenshots
  • Voice translation to translate speech, and a split-screen mode for two participants having a bilingual conversation
  • Multi-person conversation translation – connect your devices and have in-person conversations with up to 100 people across multiple languages
  • Phrasebooks for verified translations and pronunciation guides to help you learn important phrases in foreign languages when you travel
  • Look up alternate translations and meanings of a word to find the best translation to express yourself
  • Download languages for offline use for when you travel without an internet connection
  • Hear your translated phrase out loud to help you learn how to say the translation
  • View transliterations (pronunciation guides) to help you pronounce the translation (includes Pinyin support for Chinese)
  • Share your translations with other apps
  • Pin and save your most frequent translations for later
  • Translate websites on Safari using the Microsoft Translator browser extension
  • Speak to your Apple watch to get an instant translation
  • Automatically sync translations between your phone and Apple watch
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