How to Translate an Excel File: 3 Best Methods

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Written by

Adedamola Ojedokun

Foreign language proficiency and mental resilience!

Just a few years ago, both were prerequisites for Excel spreadsheet translation.

Not anymore.

If you learn how to translate an Excel file automatically, you can do without those skills.

On second thought, you might need them to understand and handle all the praise from your international audience.

But we’ll leave that up to you.

Instead, let us teach you the following:

Pro tip: To translate an Excel spreadsheet automatically, use a professional localization management tool – Centus. Learn more.

Method 1: Translate Excel File Using Microsoft Translator

Microsoft Translator is used to efficiently translate Excel spreadsheets. Here's how to use it:

1.Open your Excel spreadsheet and choose the file you want to translate

2.On the toolbar, click Review > Translate

microsoft translator

3.Select the source language and target language.

4.Click Translate

Note: The translated text will only appear on the menu. It does not replace the original text in the Excel document automatically. To do so, click Insert or manually copy and paste the translated segments into their cells.

Method 2: Upload the Excel document to Google Translate

Google Translate is here to save the day if you need to translate your Excel files quickly and easily. The machine translation tool is the go-to translation platform for many language enthusiasts and professionals.

You can translate an Excel file using Google Translate by following these steps:

1.Open Google Translate

2.Click the Documents tab

google translate

3.Choose your source and target languages.

4.Save your Excel worksheet.

This method can be used for .xls and .xlsx files.

Method 3: Use a Professional Translation Tool

Professional translation tools offer a more advanced and efficient method of translating Excel spreadsheets. Unlike free online translation tools, professional software is specifically built to handle difficult translation processes, ensuring accurate outcomes.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how you can use Centus to translate an Excel file:

1.Create a free trial Centus account

2.Upload your Excel document

3.Select the target language

4.If you opt for manual translation, track the progress and provide feedback to the translators when necessary

5.Download the translated Excel document

centus dashboard


Here are things you need to keep in mind when using professional translation tools to translate Excel files:

  • Choose a professional translation tool that is compatible with Excel file formats and integrates easily with the software.

  • Ensure the translation tool has translation memory to improve efficiency and consistency across several translations.

  • If you're working in a team, look for collaboration tools that allow many users to work on the same Excel document at the same time. Centus offers this feature.

  • Prepare your Excel document by getting rid of items that cannot be translated.

  • Divide the Excel document into smaller portions to retain context and boost translation accuracy.

  • Use the translation tool's preview feature to detect layout or formatting issues.

  • Go over the translated file and proofread it to ensure it is consistent and accurate.

  • Implement the necessary formatting and layout changes after translation.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Translating an Excel File

Translating an Excel spreadsheet file may be a rewarding experience because it allows you to exchange knowledge and collaborate with people from different cultures and backgrounds. However, it is not without its challenges.

Here are issues you may discover while translating an Excel document, along with practical solutions:

Challenge 1: Complex formulas and functions

Excel documents usually contain complex formulas and functions that make data calculations easy. But what if you need to convert these formulas into another language? One successful approach to this problem is to first understand the logic behind the formulas before translating them.

Solution: Break complex formulas down into smaller portions and translate each one separately.

This method ensures accuracy while retaining the integrity of your calculations. Don't forget to double-check and test your translated formulas using sample data to ensure they generate the expected results.

With a little practice and attention to detail, you'll be able to translate even the most complex Excel formulas.

Challenge 2: Text expansion/contraction issues

Different languages have different word and phrase lengths, which might cause issues when translating text within cells. The translated text may not fit within the original cell, resulting in formatting issues and visual discrepancies. But don't worry, there’s a solution!

Solution: Use the AutoFit function to automatically adjust the column width or row height to accommodate the expanded or contracted text.

Excel’s AutoFit function

You can ensure that your translated text fits within the cells by making tiny tweaks, thereby retaining the general layout and readability of your Excel sheet.

Challenge 3: Broken formatting and layout

Excel spreadsheets usually contain well-formatted tables, graphs, and charts that visually convey information. When translating an Excel spreadsheet file, the formatting and layout might break, thereby impacting the file’s clarity and readability.

Solution: Use a professional translation software, Centus, to preserve the file’s original formatting and layout.

After translation, double-check the translated file to ensure that the visual elements, such as tables and graphs, still convey the intended information.

Challenge 4: Language-specific nuances and cultural considerations

Different languages have different meanings or cultural relevance for certain terminology, expressions, or even numbers. Handling the language-specific nuances is yet another challenge of Excel translation.

Solution: Collaborate with professional translators or native speakers to ensure your translations are accurate and culturally appropriate.

Challenge 5: Time-consuming process

Translating Excel spreadsheets can be a time-consuming operation, especially if you repeatedly work with similar content.

Solution: Use translation memory to streamline and shorten the translation process.

Translation memory allows you to maintain consistency throughout your Excel documents, save time, and reduce the likelihood of errors.

To Sum Up

You now have different methods and strategies that you can use to successfully translate an Excel file. By following the steps and tips described in this article, you'll be able to navigate through the complexities of language and easily bridge communication gaps.

A localization management tool, Centus, streamlines the translation process for Microsoft Excel documents by simplifying project management, enhancing collaboration, improving consistency, and increasing overall efficiency. This makes the tool an invaluable asset for translating Excel documents accurately and effectively. Learn more.


How can I translate an Excel file to English online for free?

Here’s how to translate an Excel spreadsheet to English for free:

1.Open the Excel file that you want to translate

2.Click on the Review tab

3.Click on the Translate button

4.In the Translate dialog box, select English from the To language list

5.Click Translate

Does Excel have a language Translate function?

Yes, Excel has a Translate feature for translating text or formulas from one language to another. It supports over 100 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The quality of the translation will vary based on the language pair you are translating.

Can I translate a whole Excel sheet?

To translate a whole Excel sheet, use the following methods:

  • Use a localization management tool like Centus

  • Use the built-in Translate feature in Excel

  • Use a macro

How do I get Excel out of Spanish?

Follow these steps to get Excel out of Spanish:

1.Open Excel

2.Click on the File tab

3.Click on Options

4.Click on the Language tab

5.Under Office display language, select the preferred language Click on the Set as Preferred button

Excel will now be in the language you choose.

How do you automate translation in Excel?

You can use a macro to automate translation in Excel by following these steps:

1.Open the Excel sheet that you want to translate

2.Click on the Developer tab

3.In the Macros group, click Record Macro

4.In the Macro name box, enter a name for your macro

5.In the Store macro in box, select Personal Macro Workbook

6.Click OK

7.Select the cells that you want to translate, then click Translate

8.Click Stop Recording to stop recording the macro once you have finished automating the steps

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