How to Translate a Website with Google Translate

By James T. Cains

Want to read a foreign language website in your native language? Google Translate can help you with that. And it’s not just single web pages, either. You can browse an entire website in the chosen language, and even change languages as you browse.

Like other online translation tools, Google Translate isn’t perfect. It does have a good reputation for accuracy, but it does make mistakes. So use it with caution. It should work fine with casual browsing of websites — for example, if you just want to see what a website looks like in Chinese — but be very careful in relying on Google Translate for anything official.

To translate an entire website using Google Translate, follow these steps and see Figure 1 for reference:

  1. Open a web browser and go to translate.google.com. You don’t need a Google account to access it, because it’s free to all.

  2. In the text box on the left, type in the entire URL (including the http://) of the website you want to view.

  3. On the right, choose the language you want to see the website in.

  4. Click Translate.

    Figure 1: Translating a Web site.

    Figure 1: Translating a Web site.

The translated website appears (see Figure 2). You can browse the entire website in that language by clicking links on the site — as long as you stay within the Google Translate user interface. The Translate toolbar at the top enables you to do a couple of other things:

  • From the To drop-down menu, you can change the translation language on the fly.

  • Next to View, you can toggle back and forth between the translated website and the site in its original language.

You may wonder why some words and phrases are not translated. Google Translate translates only the actual text on a page. Any text that appears in an image is not translated. That’s why, in Figure 2, things like the For Dummies logo and various button text aren’t translated; those are images.

Figure 2: The Dummies.com Web site translated into Chinese.

Figure 2: The Dummies.com Web site translated into Chinese.