How To Translate a Google Spreadsheet with Google Translate

Google Sheets is a convenient platform with a plethora of built-in functions. One of those functions gives you the ability to translate the content of your spreadsheet cells into another language.

How To Translate a Google Spreadsheet with Google Translate

You can translate any word in Google Sheets, detect languages, and create vocabulary lists. This article will show you how to all of these things.

Translating Cells in Google Sheets

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

  1. Open your Google spreadsheet.
  2. Type in any word in a cell, we chose to write cat in cell A1.
  3. Now, click on another cell, B2 in this example.
  4. Next, type ‘=googletranslate’. Once you start typing, the ‘googletranslate’ option should automatically appear in the dropdown menu. Instead of typing, you can also click on the Functions icon in the toolbar and then choose Google > Google Translate from the dropdown menu.

  5. Click on googletranslate. 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 that cell, and the program will write it for you.
  7. For [source_language], choose the language of the word you’ve written in. If you want to translate the word ‘cat’, you should write ”en” (for English).
  8. For [target_language], choose the language you want to translate to. For example, you can type ”es” for Spanish or “it” for Italian. Remember to always write language codes in quotation marks. 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 the available languages, you should look at the list of languages supported by Google Translate. Here you can learn the codes for all supported languages.

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

=googletranslate (text, “en”, “ja”)


Making a Vocabulary List using Google Sheets

If you want to translate many words from one language to another, you can make a ‘vocabulary list’ in your Google Spreadsheet. The process is similar to the one described above.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make two columns in your sheet. We will use column A for the familiar words and column B for the translations.
  2. In A1 you can type: ‘English’, and in B1 type the language that you want to translate to. ‘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 yet written anything in A2.
  4. In A2, write any word that you would like to translate. As soon as you’re done typing, the translation should appear in cell B2 cell.
  5. Drag your mouse to the corner of the B2 until you see a little cross. Then click on it and drag it down over B3, B4, B5, etc.
  6. Now you can 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 that you want.

You can even add another column with another language. Let’s say you want to translate the same thing, but to Italian. In C1, you type ‘Italian’. This isn’t necessary, but it will help you make a difference and organize your columns.

The code for C2 would be ‘=googletranslate (A2, “en”, “it”). Click on the bottom-right corner of that cell and drag it down. The words will automatically translate.

Detecting Languages in Google Sheets

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

  1. In the first row, enter a word or a phrase from another language.
  2. In another cell, start to write ‘=detectlanguage’ and once the function pops up, click on it.
  3. The function is like the previous one. For text, you can either write the name of the cell (A2) or click on it.
  4. Press Enter. When you do, you will see a language code in the cell.

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

Use Simple Phrases

Remember to use only simple phrases while translating with Google Sheets. If you’ve used Google Translate before, you will know that the more complex phrases are not always accurate. Try to simplify your words and ideas so you can fully benefit from these functions.

Translating Google Sheets

With direct access to Google Translate, you can quickly identify and translate thousands of words. The ability to perform these translation functions provides a great deal of potential for small business owners, students, and anyone else in need of it.

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