Translate in Google Sheets

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. His idea was to organize important English vocabulary words and their translations to the student’s native language into a spreadsheet. He could just Click here for more translations but he chose to go with others. 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! You can even drag the fill handle at the bottom of the formula cell down 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.

Check out how to do it in the animation below!

Translate in Google Sheets Animation

Published by

Jake Miller

Jake is the host of the Educational Duct Tape podcast, the #EduGIF Guy, a Tech Integration Coach, speaker, Former STEM, Math & Science Teacher, and a presenter.

  • This is brilliant! Such a pity Excel won’t do it as well. Will be using with my Polish boys on Monday! Thank you

  • Thanks! With over 70 languages spoken in our school, this will be helpful. I will pass it on to staff.

    Do you happen to have a video on how you create the animation?

    • Hi! I’m glad that this animation will help your students!! I use Camtasia to create all of my GIFs. Later this week, I’ll be announcing an online course about this GIF creation process.

  • This is a wonderful tool. Is it possible to show both the traditional scripts and the English phonetic letter analysis? Many of our kids have oral but not written competence in their languages and this would help as we try to encourage them to use their home languages more.