Do you think translating a website is easy? Perhaps all you need to translate a website with Google Translate is click a button or copy-paste some results? Well… don’t!
If all you want to do is read a foreign language website in your native language, then a quick translation with Google Translate can help you. And even not just single web pages. You can browse an entire website in the chosen language, and even change languages as you browse. But beware! Publishing is quite a different thing and that is when we strong recommend that a professional translator reviews everything before going live.
Like other online translation tools, Google Translate is based on algorithms and neural networks. As such, although it mimics human language a lot, it is far from perfect. It has a good reputation for accuracy, but it does make mistakes – fluency and adequacy being just two examples. Therefore, use it with caution. It works well with casual browsing of websites — for example, if you just want to see what a website looks like in Chinese — but be very careful in relying on Google Translate for anything official or content that bears importance as a brand.
- To translate an entire website using Google Translate, follow these steps and see Figure 1 for reference:
- Open a web browser and go to translate.google.com. You don’t need a Google account to access it, because it’s free to all.
- In the text box on the left, type in the entire URL (including the http://) of the website you want to view.
- On the right, choose the language you want to see the website in.
- Then, click Translate.
The translated website appears (see Figure 2). You can browse the entire website in that language by clicking links on the site — as long as you stay within the Google Translate user interface. The Translate toolbar at the top enables you to do a couple of other things:
From the To drop-down menu, you can change the translation language on the fly.
Next to View, you can toggle back and forth between the translated website and the site in its original language.
You may wonder why some words and phrases are not translated. Google Translate translates only the actual text on a page. Any text that appears in an image is not translated. That’s why, in Figure 2, things like the For Dummies logo and various button text aren’t translated; those are images.