Translating Text and Web Pages

Many web sites feature multiple language options. If a site is not in the language you speak, try looking for a way to switch to another language inside the site. For sites that do not offer a translation in your language, you can use either Google or Bing to translate bits of text or entire web pages. You can simply copy and paste text or a URL in Safari, or use Chrome's special feature to do this quickly. The translation isn't always perfect, but it works well when no other option is available.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Translating Text and Web Pages.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's look at translating text and entire web pages.

Say you are visiting some web pages and they are in a different language. Let's say you are an English speaker like myself and you are visiting a site here that is in French or maybe one that is in Spanish you can do several different things to translate the text there so you can understand the page.

First thing you want to look for is that a lot of pages will have their own translations. You want to look around on the web page for something that allows you to switch the language. In this case you can see Select Country and sure enough if I move my cursor over it I can see that there are a variety of different languages here and I can choose one. So I can choose English.

Sometimes its shown as little flags. You will see little flags here French and English and I can switch over to the English version of this page. When you are looking for flags if you are an American sometimes look for the British flag because that represents English and sometimes there is an American flag for American English and a British flag for British English and maybe even several other flags. Sometimes it is in the upper right hand corner and sometimes at the bottom of the page. Look around to see if you can find them.

As a matter of fact many web pages will recognize where you are located and take a best guess at the language. When I went to both of these sites they guessed that my location was in the United States and showed me the English version of the page. I had to switch over to the Spanish and French versions.

But let's say you are at a web site that doesn't have that option. It is only in a language that you don't speak. Well, you can translate the entire web page using several different sites. But I'm going to show you Goggle Translate.

If you go to it takes you to the Goggle translate site and you can put text in here. You can copy and paste text in here or you can paste a url.

So let's take this url here, go over to Goggle translate, paste it in here, and you can see that it is actually going to put a link there. I click on the link. I'm still in Goggle translate. You can see the stuff here at the top but you can see now it has translated this from Spanish to English. It will actually automatically recognize that it is in Spanish.

That's not always perfect. Sometimes I've been in sites where they have been in Italian and it thinks it is Spanish or they've been in Japanese and it thinks it is Chinese. It is not perfect so you can always change what it is here. It is going to translate the entire page. So all the different text on it, as long as it is not in a graphic but actually in text, will be translated.

The translation is not perfect. For instance you can see this text here is not perfect English. If I were actually went over to the regular site and switched over to English I would get a much better translation. That is why it is always important to look for the ability of the web site to switch languages. That is how you get the best translation.

Now if you don't want to translate the entire page you can translate only a bit of it. So, for instance, we can take that one part and we select the text. We're going to copy it, Command C, and go over to Goggle Translate and Command V, paste it. You can see there is an example where it didn't get the language right. So I'm going to switch the language right here. There are a ton of different languages available in Goggle Translate. So I know that this one is in Spanish so I can tell it I want it to translate Spanish to English and then it will give me a decent translation.

Now this copy and paste method is also fantastic for email. I get email in non English languages all the time either from MacMost or maybe a question about one of my apps and I like to kind of get an idea what question I'm being asked. So I'll use Goggle Translate. Copy from the email and paste it in here and I can see basically what is there.

Now you can use it the other way as well. I can, for instance, say that I want to go English to Spanish and I can get a quick translation like that which can be fun for learning but you can also make it useful. The translation is not going to be perfect but for a message like this it doesn't necessarily have to be perfect to get the message across.

You have alternatives to using Goggle. For instance you can use and you can see it works very similarly and has lots of languages as well. It can do basically the same kind of thing.

If you have Goggle Chrome Browser it integrates really well with the Goggle Translate tool as you can imagine. It never hurts to have the Chrome Browser in addition to Safari. I prefer Safari but I have Chrome and I use it for some things. You can see when I go to this page here, the French version of this page, it actually puts a little things at the top here telling me that this page is in French and would you like to translate it. I hit translate and it is basically the same thing as if I used the Goggle Translate site and entered the url.

So you can do everything in Safari. You don't need to use Chrome. But if you are going to a lot of different sites that are not in a language that you speak you might want to use Chrome for a quick translation because you get this nice little thing here at the top.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Translating Text and Web Pages”

    5 years ago

    My son married a Brazilian girl and her family often posts in Portuguese on FaceBook, but I am unable to translate those messages. (not personal messages, info from other sites, etc.) Is there help for me to translate these ‘sayings?’
    Thank you Gary

      5 years ago

      Yes. Watch the video. I show you how to do that. Just copy and paste into one of the translation tools.

      Fernando Gonçalves
      5 years ago


      I’m native Portuguese (Lisbon) and I speak four other languages.
      I always use GOOGLE TRANSLATE first then I correct wherever necessary.
      Google Translate does a commendable job – even though it’s electronic!

    5 years ago

    Maybe I’m not explaining this right. I can translate the written language, but am unable to translate the ‘cartoon’ that comes with it. Is that possible?

      5 years ago

      Do you mean the actions and movements in the cartoon? You’ll need to have a human explain those to you, I don’t think any computer is up that task.

Comments Closed.