translating words using google sheets


You read a book or blog and you found some unknown words in English. Maybe what you are reading is in Spanish or other language that is not your mother tongue and unknown words appear. Instead of using a dictionary that might not be available at the given time, you use a different solution.

one solution

Assuming there is a Google account available, open the Google Sheets and create a new spreadsheet. In that spreadsheet, you can simply type each unknown word in a single column. Example:

Unknown words under column A

After collecting all the unknown words, you can use the built-in formula to translate them. It translates a piece of text from a given source language to a target language. Create a new column next to the unknown words and add the following formula:

GOOGLETRANSLATE(text, [source_language], [target_language])

for this case

Adding translation formula

The formula takes the language code “en” for English and translates to Spanish using its language code “es”. After entering correctly the formula, it will automatically translate it behind the scenes and show the translated word in cell B1. Now, let’s take it further by adding more example words in the unknown column and then simply replicate the formula by clicking at the bottom right corner of cell B1.

“Spreading” the formula down the column

When the mouse is released, google sheets should automatically try to translate the words

words translated


That’s it. We have added some unknown words in English and translated them into Spanish using Google Sheets and the googletranslate formula. Simple. No need of going to Google Translate or using a dictionary although is also a solution. You can take it further by checking the documentation of the formula in case you wish to use other language for source or target. It can also auto detect a language as shown in these examples.

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