Human language translators carry the knowledge of different languages, allowing them to read foreign language documents on their own. For the rest of us, though, finding a tool to translate a document or web page into our native language represents an easier process than trying to learn a new language.
Foreign language translator tools are available in a variety of places on the Internet. But the most convenient option is to install a Chrome translate extension that will give you results directly in the Chrome web browser. Some of these extensions even help you when learning a new language.
Before we discuss the best Chrome translate extensions, let’s delve into what Chrome can do through Google Translate alone.
What Can Chrome Translate on Its Own With Google Translate?
For basic translation work, the Chrome web browser may be able to do the job without the need for additional tools if you have the Google Translate extension available for your version of Chrome.
When you encounter a web page in Chrome that uses a foreign language, you may see a popup window that offers to translate the page. If not, just right-click anywhere on the web page and left-click on Translate to English in the popup menu.
This opens the Google Translate window. (You also can open the Google Translate window by clicking on the GT icon in the right side of the address bar in Chrome.)
You’ll see tabs for both the current language on the page and your native language (likely English). Click on the tab for the language you want to see.
If you would prefer to translate the page into another language, click on the three vertical dots in the Google Translate window and pick Choose Another Language. Select the language you want to use from the drop-down menu that appears.
Limitations of Google Translate
For a free tool, Google Translate does a decent job of translating text accurately. It certainly isn’t perfect, but it does an adequate job of translating simple web pages.
Some of the limitations of Google Translate include:
- Mistakes: You shouldn’t count on Google Translate to give you a translation of a legal document or other especially important items. It just isn’t accurate enough to rely on for legally sensitive items versus a human translator.
- Odd languages: If you are trying to translate an uncommon language, the accuracy of the results drops. Even though Google Translate offers more than 100 languages, quite a few of these will have limited benefits, other than on extremely simple translation jobs.
- Odd interpretations: When encountering slang or non-traditional language in web pages, Google Translate may struggle to translate these items properly.
- Misses graphical text: When some of the text on the web page appears as part of a graphic or as part of a photograph, Google Translate will not work on it.
Now let’s look at 10 other Chrome translate extension options.
1. DeepL Translator
For fans of the DeepL Translator website, the DeepL Translator Chrome extension attempts to mimic the success of that website. However, this Chrome translate extension doesn’t offer quite the same features as the website, as a third party developer created it. (The developers of the DeepL Translator website do not offer extensions directly.)
The DeepL Translator extension offers plenty of speed in its translations, which can be a significant benefit when working on huge documents or websites with a lot of text.
Additionally DeepL focuses on a smaller number of languages than some others, but, since the majority of online translators struggle with uncommon languages anyway, offering fewer languages than others may not be a significant disadvantage for the DeepL Translator extension.
ImTranslator provides standard translations of web pages and documents on the Internet, but it also offers a useful Back Translation feature, where you can translate your text, make editing changes, and then translate it back to determine the accuracy of your edits.
You can choose to have an entire webpage translated, or you can use a popup bubble to translate a single word or a couple of sentences after you highlight them.
To achieve its translation results, the ImTranslator extension actually samples a few different free translator tools, using these comparisons to come up with the most accurate results. Think of it like crowdsourcing for digital translators.
ImTranslator offers support for several dozen languages.
For those who need the ability to translate in more languages than the majority of translation extensions for Chrome, Lingvanex offers support for 127 languages.
This is an excellent tool for helping people learn a new language, as it allows you to quickly translate a single word in a foreign language text, helping you memorize it. Lingvanex also has a text to speech feature, so you can hear how the pronunciation of the word should sound in the foreign language. Phonetic transcriptions are available too, helping you learn the proper pronunciation for foreign words.
For those who need to translate an entire web page at once, Lingvanex works well for this feature too.
If the web page has images with text embedded in them or if it has graphical text, this tool is able to translate some of that text successfully, further highlighting its versatility.
4. Mate Translate
With the Mate Translate Chrome translate extension, you’ll find one of the most popular extension tools for language translation. It gives users a large number of features.
As with most translator extensions, Mate Translate works for entire web pages and highlighted text. But if you like watching foreign Netflix video through your Chrome browser, you can use this extension to translate the subtitles in the Netflix window.
Should you want to learn more about speaking and reading other languages, Mate Translate provides phonetic transcriptions of words. It even offers an audio feature that reads the translated text aloud, helping you learn how the words sound with the proper accent.
5. Quick Translator
The Quick Translator extension provides fast results by closely integrating itself with the Chrome browser. Just highlight a word or a text string on the page that you want to translate. Right-click on the text, and the Quick Translator option will appear in the popup menu, allowing you to select it.
This translation extension works especially well for quickly grabbing the translation of a specific word when you are reading a web page. For foreign language students, Quick Translator succeeds as a study companion, because it’s so easy to use and because it works quickly for picking out individual words that need translating.
6. Readlang Web Reader
The Readlang Web Reader extension serves two functions well, as it can translate individual words for dozens of languages, and it can help those attempting to learn a new language. Readlang provides a number of tools that can help with memorization of individual words.
As you work though the text on a web page with the language you’re trying to learn, when you click on a word to help you with a translation, Readlang separately creates a “flash card” for that word that you can use later for study purposes.
Readlang has support for a few dozen languages, which is fewer than some of the other Chrome translate extension products on our list. It also does not translate an entire web page at once, focusing more on helping you translate individual words as you’re reading a web page.
Rememberry is another extension for Chrome that will perform translations on websites and will help those trying to learn a new language to study more efficiently.
If you are working through the foreign language text on a web page and you encounter a word that has given you quite a bit of trouble, you can save that word in Rememberry. The software will create flash cards for you based on the words you’ve saved that you can access later.
Should you want to hear how certain foreign words sound, Rememberry maintains a text to speech feature.
If you’d like extra control over how the Chrome extension handles your language translation needs, Reverso is a good choice. Use Reverso’s settings menu to set up hotkeys and create your preferred method of receiving the translation.
Reverso does better than the majority of Chrome extensions for translation in terms of recognizing the context in which words appear, creating more accurate translations of less formally written text.
Reverso has plenty of versatility too, allowing you to translate PDFs or Netflix subtitles in real time while you’re watching movies. Additionally, it works for those studying foreign languages, as it can create tools and games that help you learn more efficiently.
When you want a quick translation of a single word on a web page displayed in a foreign language, TransOver allows you to hover the cursor over the word, causing the translation to pop onto the screen.
For those wanting help with learning a foreign language, TransOver allows users to set up time delays for the hover feature, so you can try to figure out the word on your own before the translation appears on the screen. You also have the option of disabling the translation on certain web pages to help with your learning process.
For help with learning how to pronounce words in your foreign language, TransOver offers a text to speech feature. There’s also a reverse translation feature, where you can translate text from your language into the desired foreign language.
With XTranslate, you’ll have multiple ways to translate web pages or individual words on the page. You can click on the translation icon on the page to handle the entire page at one time for the fastest results.
The extension has hotkeys too, simplifying the process of making translations on the fly. One of the hotkey functions will open a separate popup text window in your Chrome browser. Enter any words or a full sentence that you want to translate into the text box. XTranslate will give you the translation along with quick links to the dictionary function, so you can learn more about the foreign language words, if desired.
XTranslate works well with PDF files, providing a full translation of the document. It supports more than 100 different languages.