Web Translate is a Firefox and Chrome extension that displays the translation of the selected text

Mar 23, 2021
Firefox, Firefox add-ons, Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

Every once in a while, I visit websites which are not in a language I'm familiar with. While translating the entire page is a good idea, sometimes I may only need just a sentence or two to be translated. Normally, I paste the lines into a translation extension that I use. But you know how it is, sometimes the translation makes no sense, and you may want to try a different one.

Web Translate is a Firefox and Chrome extension that displays the translation of the selected text

Web Translate is an extension for Firefox and Chrome, that displays the translation of the selected text in a pop-up or modal, and also lets you choose the translation service you want to use. The add-on places an icon on the toolbar, which you can use to access its interface. The UI is a pop-up window, and it may look familiar if you're using the Group Speed Dial add-on, that's because both extensions are written by the same developer.

Visit a web page that is not in your default language, and right-click anywhere to access the browser's context menu. Select the option that says Translate Page, and Web Translate will open a new tab with the Google Translated version of the page in your default language.

Web Translate - toolbar button

You can also click on the add-on's button, and then on the second option in the sidebar to do the same. This isn't convenient than the right-click menu, but the pop-up interface has many other options.

Do you want to translate specific text on the page? Highlight the content, access the context menu and select Translate "selected text". Doing so opens the Web Translate's interface with the first tab in focus, and the extension automatically makes a query with the selected content in the "source" pane. After a second or two, the translated version of the text is displayed on the other pane.

Web Translate - context menu action

The Translate tab's interface differs based on the service that you select. For instance, if you're using Google Translate, you will see options to mark a translation as a favorite, listen to the translation using text-to-speech. The paper icon sends the translation to the clipboard. Found an incorrect translation? Edit it by clicking the pencil button. The share button lets you send the translation via Email, Twitter, etc.

Switch to the Microsoft Bing Translator, and you'll only see the original text and translation panes, and a list of commonly used phrases. DeepL Translator has options similar to Google's, but also lets you save the translation as a text document.

Web Translate - choose translation service

Click on the settings button and you can change the default translation service, you may choose from: Google Translate, Microsoft Bing Translator, DeepL Translator, Yandex Translate and Baidu Translator. The settings page has options to change the size of the sidebar, toggle the context menu options for translate text/page.

Dislike the pop-up interface? Web Translate can be set to open in a modal, or in a new tab or a new window. This also works for the context menu actions. You can toggle an optional Dark mode for the add-on's interface.

Download Web Translate for Firefox and Chrome. The extension is not open source. The Chrome version doesn't support Google Translate in the pop-up/modal. According to a comment from the developer, this seems to be due to a limitation in the browser. The add-on is also available for Mozilla Thunderbird.

I switched to Simple Translate last year (from "To Google Translate"), and have been quite happy with it. But, I think Web translate does an equally good job.

software image
Author Rating
4.5 based on 3 votes
Software Name
Web Translate
Operating System
Firefox, Chrome, Thunderbird
Software Category
Landing Page

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  1. owl said on March 24, 2021 at 5:48 am

    By Ashwin,
    > I switched to Simple Translate last year (from “To Google Translate”), and have been quite happy with it. But, I think Web translate does an equally good job.

    The same goes for me.

    In my browser (Firefox), I hide “Web Translate” in the toolbar and use this extension in the contextual menu. And I have “Simple Translate (by sienori)” set in the toolbar. I have also placed “To Google Translate” in the contextual menu for translation of all pages.

  2. empirefall said on March 23, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    just as a blurp regarding translation, I recently noticed that Deepl has added Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Swedish to their services

  3. Juraj M. said on March 23, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    Whoa, is that my addon? Thank you Ashwin for the nice review :).
    It’s not every day I see one of my addons getting this kind of attention on my favorite RSS channel (also congrats to the new page design!).

    If anyone’s interested in little back story:
    Originally I’ve build this addon primarily for Thunderbird 78 – because there were no compatible translators (and sometimes I get “support related” email in foreign language).
    It took me only 7 days to build the first version 2.0 :D. I work every day so that’s normal 7 days, aka one week :). That was kind of big personal achievement since in software world, things are usually super slow and sometimes you work for weeks on just a one complex feature!

    Anyway, thanks to the new WebExtension API, addons are now super compatible across different products, so I was able to release Firefox version with zero* effort and Chrome version with small effort. As a Firefox user I was using the “To Google Translate” before (which was ok) but now I’m happy user of my own translator :).

    So, that’s it from me. Thanks again Ashwin for the attention! You’ve made my day!
    Getting positive feedback for the work I do is the reason I do these things :)

    1. owl said on March 24, 2021 at 5:31 am

      @Juraj M.,

      I am pleased that the developers of this extension have reviewed it here.
      I’ve been a longtime Thunderbird user, and I like the email client’s “e-mail multi-account management and RSS subscriptions” and use it more often than a browser.
      However, Thunderbird no longer supports Legacy Add-ons, which made it impossible for Thunderbird alone to reading messages and feeds in other languages, which was very annoying.
      With the advent of this extension (first version 2.0), it is no longer necessary to reopen it in a browser etc, which is very helpful. Above all, I am happy to be able to select the translation engine at will.
      Thanks to you, the missing pieces (translation function) in Thunderbird have been filled.
      I would like to express our deep gratitude.

  4. Dumbledalf said on March 23, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    I like the blue gradient on the UI. More programs should incorporate gradients back into their UIs. It’s time for this ugly and boring flat trend to end.

    1. Juraj M. said on March 23, 2021 at 7:57 pm

      I know, right? :)
      I’m now using gradients in all new things I build.
      It makes boring things looks cool again :D.

      1. Zhora said on March 31, 2021 at 12:49 am

        Makes UI look unnecessarily cluttered, not pleasing to the eye and overall like poop.

  5. Amonymous said on March 23, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    Ooh, the fact that you can select multiple providers is very useful!

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