Translate Text with the Cloud Translation API

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Translate Text with the Cloud Translation API

30 minutes 1 Credit


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The Cloud Translation API uses Google’s neural machine translation technology to instantly translate texts into more than one hundred languages.

In this lab you will use the API to translate text and detect what language the text is using.

What you'll learn

In this lab you'll do the following:

  • Create a Cloud Translation API request and calling the API with curl

  • Translate text

  • Use the Premium Edition

  • Detecting language

Setup and requirements

Before you click the Start Lab button

Read these instructions. Labs are timed and you cannot pause them. The timer, which starts when you click Start Lab, shows how long Google Cloud resources will be made available to you.

This hands-on lab lets you do the lab activities yourself in a real cloud environment, not in a simulation or demo environment. It does so by giving you new, temporary credentials that you use to sign in and access Google Cloud for the duration of the lab.

To complete this lab, you need:

  • Access to a standard internet browser (Chrome browser recommended).
Note: Use an Incognito or private browser window to run this lab. This prevents any conflicts between your personal account and the Student account, which may cause extra charges incurred to your personal account.
  • Time to complete the lab---remember, once you start, you cannot pause a lab.
Note: If you already have your own personal Google Cloud account or project, do not use it for this lab to avoid extra charges to your account.

How to start your lab and sign in to the Google Cloud Console

  1. Click the Start Lab button. If you need to pay for the lab, a pop-up opens for you to select your payment method. On the left is the Lab Details panel with the following:

    • The Open Google Console button
    • Time remaining
    • The temporary credentials that you must use for this lab
    • Other information, if needed, to step through this lab
  2. Click Open Google Console. The lab spins up resources, and then opens another tab that shows the Sign in page.

    Tip: Arrange the tabs in separate windows, side-by-side.

    Note: If you see the Choose an account dialog, click Use Another Account.
  3. If necessary, copy the Username from the Lab Details panel and paste it into the Sign in dialog. Click Next.

  4. Copy the Password from the Lab Details panel and paste it into the Welcome dialog. Click Next.

    Important: You must use the credentials from the left panel. Do not use your Google Cloud Skills Boost credentials. Note: Using your own Google Cloud account for this lab may incur extra charges.
  5. Click through the subsequent pages:

    • Accept the terms and conditions.
    • Do not add recovery options or two-factor authentication (because this is a temporary account).
    • Do not sign up for free trials.

After a few moments, the Cloud Console opens in this tab.

Note: You can view the menu with a list of Google Cloud Products and Services by clicking the Navigation menu at the top-left. Navigation menu icon

Activate Cloud Shell

Cloud Shell is a virtual machine that is loaded with development tools. It offers a persistent 5GB home directory and runs on the Google Cloud. Cloud Shell provides command-line access to your Google Cloud resources.

  1. Click Activate Cloud Shell Activate Cloud Shell icon at the top of the Google Cloud console.

When you are connected, you are already authenticated, and the project is set to your PROJECT_ID. The output contains a line that declares the PROJECT_ID for this session:

Your Cloud Platform project in this session is set to YOUR_PROJECT_ID

gcloud is the command-line tool for Google Cloud. It comes pre-installed on Cloud Shell and supports tab-completion.

  1. (Optional) You can list the active account name with this command:

gcloud auth list
  1. Click Authorize.

  2. Your output should now look like this:


ACTIVE: * ACCOUNT: To set the active account, run: $ gcloud config set account `ACCOUNT`
  1. (Optional) You can list the project ID with this command:

gcloud config list project


[core] project = <project_ID>

Example output:

[core] project = qwiklabs-gcp-44776a13dea667a6 Note: For full documentation of gcloud, in Google Cloud, refer to the gcloud CLI overview guide.

Task 1. Create an API Key

Since you'll be using curl to send a request to the Translation API, you need to generate an API key to pass in our request URL.

  1. To create an API key, in the Navigation menu (Navigation menu icon), click APIs & services > Credentials.

  2. Click Create credentials.

  3. In the drop down menu, select API key.

  4. Copy the key you just generated.

Next you'll save it to an environment variable to avoid having to insert the value of your API key in each request.

  1. Run the following in Cloud Shell. Be sure to replace <your_api_key> with the key you just copied:


Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Create an API Key

Task 2. Translate text

In this example you will translate the string "My name is Steve" into Spanish.

  • Pass the text to be translated, along with the API key environment variable, to the Translation API with the following curl command:

TEXT="My%20name%20is%20Steve" curl "${API_KEY}&q=${TEXT}"

Your response should look like this:

{ "data": { "translations": [ { "translatedText": "Mi nombre es Steve", "detectedSourceLanguage": "en" } ] } }

In the response, you can see that the translated text and the source language that the API detected.​

Note: Premium Mode

The Google Cloud Translation API uses a standard edition model for most translation tasks. Google has augmented its translation service to use a more robust Neural machine Translation System. To learn more about using this premium model, refer to Cloud Translation Documentation.

Task 3. Detect language

In addition to translating text, the Translation API also can detect the language of the text. In this example you will detect the language of two strings.

  • Pass the text to be examined, along with the API key environment variable, to the Translation API with the following curl command:

TEXT_ONE="Meu%20nome%20é%20Steven" TEXT_TWO="日本のグーグルのオフィスは、東京の六本木ヒルズにあります" curl "${API_KEY}&q=${TEXT_ONE}&q=${TEXT_TWO}"

Your response should look like this:

{ "data": { "detections": [ [ { "language": "pt", "isReliable": false, "confidence": 0.20671661198139191 } ], [ { "confidence": 0.97750955820083618, "isReliable": false, "language": "ja" } ] ] } }

The languages returned by this sample are "pt" and "ja". These are the ISO-639-1 identifiers for Portuguese and Japanese. This list of languages supported by the Translation API lists all the possible language codes which can be returned.


You've learned how to translate text with the Cloud Translation API!

Finish your quest

This self-paced lab is part of the Language, Speech, Text & Translation with Google Cloud APIs quest. A quest is a series of related labs that form a learning path. Completing this quest earns you a badge to recognize your achievement. You can make your badge or badges public and link to them in your online resume or social media account. Enroll in any quest that contains this lab and get immediate completion credit. See the Google Cloud Skills Boost catalog to see all available quests.

Take your next lab

Continue your quest with Classify Text into Categories with the Natural Language API or try one of these:

Next steps / Learn more

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Manual Last Updated December 27, 2022
Lab Last Tested December 27, 2022

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