How to Translate a Google Spreadsheet with Google Translate

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Matthew M. White
@matthewmwhite
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Google Sheets is a handy platform with many functions. One of these functions gives you the ability to translate the contents of cells in your spreadsheet.

You can translate any word in Google Sheets, detect languages ​​and create "vocabulary" lists. This article will show you how.

The language code

To translate any word in a Google spreadsheet, you need to follow these steps:



  1. Open your Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Type any word in a cell.
  3. Click another cell.
  4. Type '=googletranslate'. Once you start typing, the 'googletranslate' option should automatically appear in the drop-down menu. Instead of typing, you can also click the "Functions" icon on the toolbar. Then choose Google > Google Translate from the drop-down menu.

  5. Click on 'google translate'. A code (text, [source_language], [target_language]) will appear.
  6. For 'text', choose the cell with the word you want to translate. For example, A1. Alternatively, you can click on this cell and the program will write it for you.
  7. For [source_language], choose the language of the word you wrote. If you want to translate the word "chat", you must write "en" (for English).
  8. For [target_language], choose the language you want to translate into. For example, you can type "es" for Spanish or "it" for Italian. Remember to always write language codes in quotes. Otherwise you will get an error in the code.
  9. Press Enter'. You should see a translation of your source word.

Google Sheets supports the same language codes as Google Translate. If the language option exists in Google Translate, you can use it in your Google spreadsheet. To see all available languages, you should look at the list of languages ​​supported by Google Translate. Here you can learn codes for all supported languages.



For example, if you want to translate from English to Japanese, you would use the following code for your cell:

= googletranslate (text, “en”, “ja”)

Simple!

Make a vocabulary list

If you want to translate many words from one language to another, you can create a "vocabulary list" in your Google Spreadsheet. The process is similar to that described above.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Make two columns in your sheet. We will use column A for familiar words and column B for translations.
  2. In A1, you can type: 'English', and in B1, type the language you want to translate into. “Spanish”, for example.
  3. In cell B2, write the code: =googletranslate(A2, "en", "es"). You can change the language codes depending on what you want to translate. The program will write #VALUE! in the cell because you haven't written anything in A2 yet.
  4. In A2, write any word you want to translate. As soon as you finish typing, the translation should appear in cell B2.
  5. Drag your mouse towards the corner of the B2 until you see a small cross. Then click on it and drag it down to B3, B4, B5, etc.
  6. You can now type any word in A3 and you will get a translation in B3. The same applies to A4 to B4, A5 to B5, etc. until you translate all the words you want.

You can even add another column with another language. Let's say you want to translate the same thing, but in Italian. In C1, you type “Italian”. It's not necessary, but it will help you differentiate and organize your columns.



The code for C2 would be '=googletranslate(A2, 'en', 'it'). Click on the lower right corner of this cell and drag it down. The words will be automatically translated.

Detect the language

You can combine two different functions: detect language and Google Translate. With this, you don't need to know the language you are translating from.


  1. In the first line, type a word or phrase from another language.
  2. In another cell, start writing '=detectlanguage' and once the function appears, click on it.
  3. The function is like the previous one. For 'text', you can either write the cell name (A2) or click on it.
  4. Press Enter'. When you do, you'll see a language code in the cell.

For example, if you type “=detect language, A2” and the text in A2 is 'gato', Google will detect Spanish. Since Google works with language codes, the cell will say "es" instead. You can also use the drag method to repeat the process for each row.

Use simple sentences

Remember to only use simple sentences when translating with Google Sheets. If you've ever used Google Translate, you'll know that the most complex sentences aren't always accurate.

Try to simplify your words and ideas to take full advantage of this feature.

Audio Video How to Translate a Google Spreadsheet with Google Translate
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