What Google Translate Can Do For You and Your Students

In our rural Missouri school district of Willard we have a surprising variety of languages spoken by our ELL students: Spanish, Russian, Romanian, Hmong, Chinese, Ukrainian, Filipino, and Portuguese. Google Translate features a set of translation tools that many teachers may find useful.

The Text and Web tab is for translating a small amount of text to get the gist of message. Like any translation tool, it is not perfect. There is also a field for pasting in a web page address for translation. Languages include: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


The Translated Search tab translates your query from the selected “My language” to the selected “Find results in” language. It then carries out the translated query, displaying the search results in “My Language.” Google provides this example:

1. Search for Dubai tours from English to Arabic.
2. We translate your query into “جولات دبي” and find Arabic web page results.
3. Finally, we translate the Arabic web page results back into English for you.

The Dictionary tab provides a translation of your word or short phrase.


The Tools tab offers 3 options.

translategadget.jpgA translate widget (or gadget as Google labels it, must be a G thing) can be added to your web page for your readers to use to translate your web page. Just copy and paste the provided html code in the appropriate location. For Edublogs this would be a text widget. With Wikispaces you can use the Insert Widget button and choose Other HTML.

russian.jpgThe next tool is a browser button installed with just a click and drag. A variety of buttons are available for several languages. Use this to translate a webpage you’re viewing, just click that button. You can also translate a part of a webpage by selecting that part before you click the button.

hover.jpgThe last tool is the Google Toolbar which is used to translate a word on a webpage by hovering the mouse over a word. This results in a pop up translation cloud. You will need to install this toolbar.

By default, Windows installs the files for most input languages. However, if you want to enter or display text in the East Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, or Korean) or the complex script and right-to-left languages (Arabic, Armenian, Georgian, Hebrew, the Indic languages, Thai, or Vietnamese), you have to install the language files (otherwise you just get a bunch of ?????). Add only those languages you will use. Each language you add is loaded into memory when you start your computer and can affect performance. Willard Staff: If you need these options installed complete a Tech Work Order.

  1. Open click Start>Settings>Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Regional and Language Options.
  3. On the Languages tab, under Supplemental language support, select the Install files for Complex script… or East Asian languages check box.
  4. Click OK in the pop up window.
  5. Click Apply. You will be prompted to insert the Windows CD-ROM or point to a network location where the files are located.
  6. After the files are installed, you must restart your computer.
  7. Next you need to add the new languages. Open Regional and Language Options in Control Panel.
  8. On the Languages tab, under Text services and input languages, click Details.
  9. Under Installed services, click Add.
  10. In the Input language list, click the language you want to add.
  11. Click OK.
  12. Click Apply.

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