How to Translate Text Quickly (using Google Sheets)

I know my way around a few spreadsheet formulas. I love a good VLOOKUP and PROPER situation!

But this formula is so cool and fun (and surprising!) that I had to share.

Introducing GOOGLETRANSLATE

GOOGLETRANSLATE is a formula function specifically for Google Sheets, that will translate text from one language to another.

The syntax is:

=GOOGLETRANSLATE
(“text”,”source_language”,”target_language”)
where…

text” = the text you want translated. Note that if you have text in a specific cell you want to reference, you can also use the reference (ex. A2, B7)
“source_language” = the language that the text is in currently (two-letter abbreviation)
target_language” = the language that the text should translate to (also two-letter abbreviation)

For those language abbreviations, check out Google’s documentation here.

When can I use this?

Some of you know you can already translate text on the Google site! But if you’re dealing with tons of content (in a Google Sheet), migrating data that needs to be translated, or anything in that vein…then I can see this being a GREAT starting point for a translation project.

The other cool thing? If you have text on separate lines within a cell, the translation will keep that formatting.

Wow! How accurate are the translations?

Google has certainly improved their translation tech since I last used it during my frantic high school days!

But as with all things automated and non-human, you’ll want a second set of eyes scanning those finished translations. There can be some occasional weirdness, which you’ll also see in the video. =]

Show me how it’s done.

Check out the latest video from my Youtube channel to see GOOGLETRANSLATE in action.

Share your thoughts!