Living in a new country where a different language is spoken is something that I can barely fathom. Doing it as a child just blows my mind. Our schools are often ill-equipped to support these kiddos, but they often do have one powerful tool that can help: compassionate teachers.
One of these compassionate teachers once came to me looking to create a tool to support an ELL (English Language Learner) student. We both knew that we worked with a great ELL Tutor who was helping this student assimilate to the school . . . but what about the vocabulary that was being learned in the meantime?
His idea was to organize important English vocabulary words and their translations to the student’s native language into a spreadsheet. After he came to me with this idea, I started exploring options. What I discovered was really exciting! There’s a Google Translate formula in Google Sheets!
Enter a word in one language in a cell, and then use the formula =GoogleTranslate(text, source_language, target_language) in another cell to automagically translate it! Translating one word this way doesn’t save my time, but you can drag (or double-click) the fill handle at the bottom of the formula cell to apply this formula to more than one cell.
This formula appears to work for all languages supported by Google Translate, of which there are more than 100! It even outputs the results with the correct letters and alphabet–not just our ABC English letters. You’ll just need to know the 2-letter code for the language, which you can find in this list.
A note: as with using the regular Google Translate site, the results are not 100% accurate, but they’re close. This method is free, fast, and easy. There may be other options that can yield better results.
Check out how to do it in the animation below and then read the steps below the EduGIF!