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Amazon Web Services announced today a new way for machine learning developers to build and deploy models through its cloud. The company’s SageMaker AI service gained support for a local mode that lets developers start testing intelligent systems on their personal computers before moving to the cloud.

Using local mode, a developer can first test out different approaches, then send them out to SageMaker for more extensive training on Amazon’s cloud. Customers also have a broader set of compute instances to choose from for powering that training.

In addition to the SageMaker news, AWS’ AI-powered transcription and translation services are now generally available for customers to use. Appropriately named Transcribe and Translate, these offerings allow companies to reap the benefits of AI capabilities without having to hire experts.

These pretrained services echo those that other companies like Microsoft, Google, and IBM already offer through their clouds. Prebuilt AI APIs are important tools for cloud platforms to attract and retain customers, and this launch opens up AWS for a set of new use cases. They join AWS’ existing AI services, including Lex for natural language understanding, Polly for speech generation, and Rekognition for image processing.


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Both machine learning APIs received new functionality as part of the launches. Transcribe now allows customers to input custom vocabulary, while Translate will automatically detect the source language that customers input.

Right now, Amazon offers fairly limited language support for both services. Translate can turn Arabic, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese into English and vice versa. In the coming months, AWS plans to support Japanese, Russian, Italian, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, and Czech. Transcribe, meanwhile, works with Spanish and English.

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