Google Docs Adds Document Translations

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 31, 2009
Updated • Dec 27, 2017

Offering computer translations of documents seems to be a one of the features that Google wants to introduce to many of its services.

You might remember that Google added automatic translations of RSS feed items to Google Reader a while ago which is a super useful feature for users who follow foreign blogs.

A few days ago document translations were added to Google Docs as well which allows users of the document hosting and managing service to translate documents that are available on Google Docs easily.

The new option to translate a document becomes available after clicking on Tools > Translate Document in the header menu while viewing a single document in Google Docs.

Update: When you do so today, a prompt is displayed to you in which you select the target language and a name for the new document. Google creates a translated copy of the document that you can then edit or print just like any other document on the site. It no longer creates a copy of the original document that you can view but not edit. End

Available is the usual assortment of languages that is powered by the Google Translate service. Selecting one of the languages in the menu will open a new window that loads the translated text after a short time.

It is then possible to create a new document based on the translated document, or replace the existing document with the translation.

google docs

The document cannot be edited in this window though. This option becomes available after selecting one of the two options described above. It would have been nice if Google Docs offered at least some form of export and editing capabilities right away so that users who want a quick translation of a document can process it further without having to save it first before they can do so.

Another option that is currently missing are partial translations of documents. It's currently either all or nothing.

Google Docs Adds Document Translations
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Google Docs Adds Document Translations
Find out how to translate entire documents using Google's only document management service Docs.
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