How-To Geek

Auto Translate Text in Google Chrome

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Do you need a quick and simple way to understand an unfamiliar language while browsing the Internet? Then join us as we take a look at the Auto-Translate extension for Google Chrome.

Installation & Options

While adding the extension to Chrome you will be asked to confirm the installation…click on “Install” to finish the process.


You will notice a small extension management message window once installation is finished but there will be no “Toolbar Button” visible. At this point you will need to go into the Options to set up the default languages, additional configurations, and keyboard shortcuts.


The only method for accessing the options for the extension is through the “Chrome Extensions Page”…


Once you have gone into the options you will notice that there are three default “Configuration Tab Areas”…each associated with a particular default “Keyboard Shortcut”. Each one will have a slightly different setup (i.e. the “From Language” and “Additional Configurations”).

Note: If desired you can permanently remove “Configuration Tabs” by clicking on the “Tab Xs”.


If you choose to add a “Custom Configuration” this is what you will see. Notice that you can set up your own personal “Keyboard Shortcut” and that the two “Additional Configurations” are “auto-selected” (you may prefer to deselect these).


Each time that you make changes in a particular “Configuration Tab” and save them you will see the tab “shaded over” like this. If you wish to make further changes to the other “Configuration Tabs” just click anywhere on the “button” to remove the “shading”.


Auto-Translate in Action

The trick to using this extension is to first hold down any keys that are associated with your chosen keyboard shortcuts/languages and then highlighting the text that you would like to have translated.

For our example we have “Ctrl + Highlighted Text (Selection)” set for English and “Ctrl + Shift + Highlighted Text (Selection)” set for Simplified Chinese. We started with a South Korean news website…the “red outlined area” is the text that we selected. Here is our English translation…

Note: As soon as the “popup translation” appears you will not need to hold down on your mouse button. The highlighting color over the text will also “disappear”.


And our Simplified Chinese translation.


To keep things interesting we visited a French website next. Once again the translation into English…


And the translation into Simplified Chinese.



During our tests the extension was a little bit off on the translations but if you need a quick way to understand what a particular website is saying, then this is definitely a very convenient extension.


Download the Auto-Translate extension (Google Chrome Extensions)

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 01/18/10

Comments (12)

  1. legendar

    I’m the author of the Chrome Auto-Translate extension.
    Very thanks about this how-to!
    I have add link for this page in the extension description.
    Can you please also check one mistake in your text?
    You have wrote this:
    > If you wish to make further changes to the other “Configuration Tabs” you will need to click on the the text at the bottom of the “button” to remove the “shading”.
    But you don’t need click on the text at the bottom of the “button”. You can click anywhere on the “button” to remove “shading”.

    Thanks, legendar.

  2. Asian Angel

    @legendar – Updating that right now. ^__^

  3. nippy

    this is very useful ext. Thank you very much!

  4. setwhk

    I have used this extension quite a while and generally it works fine. However, this extension does not work for local drive html document. Whenever I save any document in html format in my hard drive and re-open it from hard drive, I cannot use ‘Auto-translate’ to translate this document any more. Hope this can be supported in future.

  5. TMTz

    I’m looking for this extension, so cool

  6. neley

    I’m not sure, but it seems that it is not working on the mac osx… :(

  7. Sugoi

    It doesn’t work for me on Facebook. It seems to work in every other sites.

    I’m running Xubuntu 10.10

  8. jon

    doesn’t work with ctrl or ctrl alt highlighted weather in auto or specified german on

    No instructions, no icons. no help. = UNINSTALLED

  9. xxx

    Doesn’t work on Facebook.

  10. x

    good job, both of you

  11. ric

    Great Job. Thanks to the
    1) Author of Chrome Auto-Translate extension.
    2) How-To Geek for introducing this to Internet users.

  12. jacek2v

    Very good ext, but have one issue. Adds black bar with google log below signature in gmail edit window.


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