When not everyone you work with speaks the same language natively, you may need to use a translator. In Google Sheets, you can translate languages so that collaborating or reviewing spreadsheets is a bit easier.

We’ll show you two ways to translate languages in Google Sheets. The first method uses a function and formula while the second uses a third-party add-on. Take a look at how to use each to see which is best for you.

Use the GOOGLETRANSLATE Function

Just like Google offers its own translation tool, it provides a function for Google Sheets. GOOGLETRANSLATE lets you translate specific text or that in a cell with a simple formula.

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The syntax for the formula is GOOGLETRANSLATE(text, source_language, target_language). The first argument is required. As mentioned, you can use a cell reference or enter the text within quotation marks.

If you don’t enter a source language, the formula detects it automatically and if you don’t enter a target language, it uses the system language by default. For both, you’ll enter the two-letter language code in quotes.

Let’s look at some examples.

With the following formula, we’ll translate “Please select an option” from English to Spanish:

=GOOGLETRANSLATE("Please select an option","en","es")

GOOGLETRANSLATE formula for text

To translate that same text using its cell reference (A1) and the same languages, you would use this formula:

=GOOGLETRANSLATE(A1,"en","es")

GOOGLETRANSLATE formula for a cell

If you have the two-letter language codes in cells, you can reference those in the formula too. Here, we’ll translate cell A1 from the language in cell A2 to the language in cell A3:

=GOOGLETRANSLATE(A1,A2,A3)

GOOGLETRANSLATE formula using all cell references

For more functions and formulas like this, take a look at some basic Google Sheets functions you should know.

Install a Google Sheets Add-On

While the function above is a good option, you may not be a fan of using functions and formulas. Or you may simply want a quick way to translate an entire sheet. This is when the free Google Sheets add-on Translate My Sheet comes in handy.

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After you install the add-on from the Google Workspace Marketplace, you can translate a selection of cells or your whole spreadsheet.

Go to the Extensions tab, select Translate My Sheet, and pick “Start a New Translation” in the pop-out menu.

Start a New Translation in the menu

When the sidebar opens, you can set up the tool. You’ll see the Source Language set to Auto Detect, but you can choose a different language in the drop-down list if you like. Then, pick the Target Language.

Target language options

At the bottom under Advanced Settings, enable the toggles for translating the entire sheet, duplicating the sheet to translate, or applying a background color to changed cells per your preferences.

Advanced Settings for the add-on

If you only want to translate particular cells rather than the whole sheet, select the cells.

When you’re ready, click “Translate.”

Translate button for the cells

You’ll see a pop-up message letting you know the number of cells that will be translated. If this looks correct, select “Yes” to continue.

Confirmation of cells to be translated

You’ll see either the edited cells or new sheet per the above settings you selected.

Cells translated with Translate My Sheet

For additional extensions, take a look at some of the best Google Sheets add-ons.

Whether you pick the function and formula or the add-on, you have options to more easily work with others who speak a different dialect when using Google Sheets.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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