Firefox 41: change translation engine from Bing to Yandex

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 14, 2015

Mozilla has been working on implementing translation functionality in the Firefox web browser for some time now. We mentioned it first here on Ghacks back in mid-2014 when it was implemented in Nightly versions of the web browser.

The feature has yet to land in the stable version of the Firefox browser as it is still being worked on. One core difference to Google Chrome's implementation of a translation engine is that Mozilla's is not limited to a single service.

The first implementation in Firefox added Microsoft's Translation service powered by Bing to Firefox. Starting with Firefox 41, users of the browser may switch from using Microsoft's translation engine to the translation service provided by the Russian company Yandex.

The feature just landed in Firefox and there is no graphical user interface available to make the switch. Instead, it is necessary to make changes on the browser's about:config page.

Note: Yandex's Translate API is limited to ten million characters per month. It is unlikely that home users will come close to the limit though.

browser translate engine firefox

  1. Make sure you are running Firefox 41 or later. You can display the browser version by loading about:support in the browser's address bar.
  2. Type about:config and hit enter.
  3. Confirm you will be careful if a notification prompt appears.
  4. Search for the preference name browser.translation.engine.
  5. Double-click on it and switch its value from bing to yandex.

Once done, visit Yandex's Translate API website to get a free API key. Please note that you need to sign up for an account on the site to do that. Sign-up does not require an email address or verification and should not take longer than a minute.

Once the API key has been generated (which is instant after account creation), continue with the steps outlined below:

  1. On Firefox's about:config page, right-click on an empty spot in the main area and select New > String and enter as the string name.
  2. When you are asked to select a value, enter the API key that was generated for you.

yandex translation firefox

Check the about:preferences#content page in Firefox to make sure the translate feature is enabled in the browser. Please note that it will show "translations by Microsoft Translator even if you have switched the engine to Yandex using the about:config dialog of the browser.

firefox translate

Firefox displays a small prompt on foreign language pages from that moment on to translate web pages in the browser.

Configuration options are provided to block the prompt for select languages, and to select a default language that you want pages to be translated to. It is still possible to switch the default language using the prompt should the need arise.

Mozilla has yet to reveal when the feature will land in stable versions of the browser. You can track the meta bugs 971044 and 973271 for implementation information. (via Sören Hentzschel)

Firefox 41: change translation engine from Bing to Yandex
Article Name
Firefox 41: change translation engine from Bing to Yandex
Mozilla implemented Yandex's Translation feature into Firefox 41 which users of the browser can switch to now.

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  1. MC said on February 5, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    That registration process is a complete coding failure:

    1st) it requires 3rd party cookies, which it shouldn’t need or use at all;
    2nd) even with those enabled, I couldn’t register and ended up in a error page with no indication of the reason other than hypothetically cookies;
    3rd) that error page has a button to go back to the registration form page, but in reality it does nothing other than reload that same error page;
    4th) when you finally go back manually to the registration form page, you find that the username you chose and was free before is no longer available;

    So I tried several times to register but wasn’t able to. Maybe when they figure out the process more thoroughly…

    Additionally, first time I tried to register, 9 characters password (Uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols) was weak, but all the next times the same password was now secure.


  2. inderjeet said on June 16, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I like Google translator instead of both firefox and Yandex . Google translator has more good accuracy than these two. But everybody has their own choice. Anyways thank you for valuable content.

  3. Oxa said on June 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I use ImTranslator. It has the options of using Babylon, Google, Microsoft, or PROMT as translators. It’s a Firefox addon. It provides translations for Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Esperanto, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Lao, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, and Yiddish.

  4. Dave said on June 14, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Interesting. I’ve been using S3.Google Translator for a while now. It’s the Chrome translator, ported to Firefox. It’s better than anything else I’ve used in any browser and it supports rules to automate things.

  5. abcdef said on June 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks Mr. Martin and Mr. Sören

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