How to Translate in Google Docs: 6 Simple Methods

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Written by

Adedamola Ojedokun

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Neither conventional nor unconventional methods reduce anxiety when the deadline is near and you haven’t translated that Google Docs file.

But worry not, you are about to learn how to translate in Google Docs…using six different methods.

You read that right – you are about to learn six methods of file translation. Use that power responsibly.

Keep reading to learn:

Pro tip: Use a localization management tool, Centus, to translate your Google Docs document and preserve the formatting of tables, images, or other non-text elements. Learn more.

Method #1: Use Built-In Translation Feature

Whether you're working with international colleagues, performing research in several languages, or simply need to understand text written in another language, Google Docs' built-in translation tool can be extremely useful.

Here’s how to translate Google Docs using the built-in translation feature:

1.Open your Google Docs document

2.From the toolbar, select Tools > Translate document

google docs’ tool tab

3.In the dialog box, enter a name for the translated document

naming translated document

4.From the drop-down menu, select the target language

How to translate in google docs

5.Click Translate

google docs translate

The newly translated document will open in a new window. You will find the translated document in Google Drive if you want to view it later.

Method #2: Use Google Docs Translation Add-Ons

Google Docs has several useful add-ons that can improve the efficiency and accuracy of your translation process. These add-ons work perfectly with Google Docs, allowing you to use translation services directly from your documents.

Here's how to use Google Docs translation add-ons to make your translation tasks easier:

1.Open Google Docs and load the document that you want to translate

2.From the toolbar, click Extensions > Add-ons > Get add-ons

google docs translation add-on

3.Search for “Translate” in the Google Workspace Marketplace that pops up

4.Click Preview of the preferred add-on Click Install in the top right corner

5.From your Google Docs document, select the text that you want to translate

6.In the toolbar, click the add-on's icon

7.Select the target language

8.The add-on will translate the text and display the translation in the document


  • The accuracy of the translations varies greatly across add-ons and is usually higher for paid ones.

  • Some translation add-ons may be unable to retain your document's formatting when translating.

Method #3: Use Google Translate

Google Translate is a popular and reliable online translation service. It integrates seamlessly into Google Docs, making it a convenient solution for those looking for fast and automatic translations of their work.

Here’s how you can translate in Google Docs using Google Translate:

1.Open Google Docs and load the document that you want to translate

2.From the toolbar, click File > Download > Microsoft Word (.docx)

3.Save the document to your desktop

4.Open Google Translate

5.In the top left corner, click Documents

google translate

6.Click Browse your computer

7.Upload the file that you just downloaded

8.From the top, select the target language

9.Click Translate

Google Translate will then create a separate copy that you can download in any format of your choice.

Method #4: Change the Default Input Language

Google Docs provides a user-friendly platform that caters to a global audience, making it useful to users that work in different languages. Changing the default input language is one way to speed up the translation process.

Here's how to translate in Google Docs by changing its default input language:

1.Open Google Docs and load your document

2.From the Google Docs toolbar, click File > Language

changing default google docs language

3.Scroll down and select the preferred language for the current document

Method #5: Use DeepL

The built-in translation feature in Google Docs may not always be effective for accurately translating specialized or complex content.

You can overcome this challenge and improve translation quality by integrating DeepL (a powerful AI translation tool) into your Google Docs workflow.

Here's how to use DeepL to translate Google Docs in just a few clicks:

1.Download and install the DeepL Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser extensions

DeepL chrome extension

2.Open a Google Docs document and select the text for translation

3.In the toolbar, select the DeepL icon

4.Select the target language

5.DeepL will then translate the text and display the translation in the document

Note: Popular alternatives to DeepL are ChatGPT and Microsoft Translator. You can also use them to translate your Google Docs file.

Method #6: Use a Translation Management System

A Translation Management System (TMS) can be a game changer when it comes to efficiently translating documents in Google Docs and managing big translation projects.

A translation management system like Centus is a specialized platform that is designed to speed the translation process, improve collaboration operations, and ensure consistency across several languages and documents.

While Google Docs has some built-in translation capabilities, a TMS takes it to the next level by offering additional tools designed for professional translation operations.

Here's a step-by-step guide on translating in Google Docs using a translation management system, Centus:

1.From the Google Docs toolbar, click File > Download > Microsoft Word (docx)

2.Create a free trial Centus account

3.Upload the document to Centus

4.Select the target language

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

6.Download the translated document

centus dashboard

Here are the best practices to follow while using a translation management system to translate in Google Docs:

  • Choose a TMS that integrates easily with Google Docs and also suits your language and collaboration requirements.

  • Understand and use translation memory (TM) to reuse previously translated units, thereby increasing consistency and lowering costs.

  • Establish clear translation workflows, roles, and duties to get rid of any issues while translating your Google Docs document.

  • Improve collaboration by allowing real-time interaction between translators and reviewers working on the same document.

  • Use the terminology management features of the TMS to maintain consistency in the terminologies

  • Use both automated and human quality assurance (QA) tests to ensure high-quality translations.

  • Use the TMS's reporting and analytics features to track progress and translation performance.

  • Make data security and compliance a top priority, especially for sensitive or confidential documents.

  • Provide continuous translation training and assistance to maintain effective TMS use.

To Sum Up

Google Docs provides several convenient methods for translating your documents.

Whether you need to collaborate with international colleagues, communicate with clients from other regions, or simply explore content in a foreign language, these translation methods can be useful in breaking down language barriers.

Using a localization management tool like Centus together with Google Docs can streamline your translation process, simplify payment calculation, boost collaboration, and improve the quality of your multilingual content. Learn more.


How do I translate a document in Google Docs?

Follow these steps to translate documents in Google Docs:

1.Open the Google Docs document that you want to translate

2.From the toolbar, click Tools > Translate document

3.In the Translate document dialog box, enter a name for the translated document and select the different language

4.Click Translate

What is the translation extension for Google Docs?

Several translation extensions can be used for Google Docs. These extensions support most of the popular languages. They also support word lookup with pronunciation and examples.

An example of a popular translation extension is Docs Paragraph Translate.

Is there a translate function in Google Docs?

Yes, Google Docs has a translate function. Here’s how to use the function:

1.Open the document in Google Doc

2.Click Tools > Translate document

3.Name the translated document and enter the target language

4.Click Translate

How accurate are the translations in Google Docs?

The accuracy of Google Docs translations depends on the language pair and how complex the document is. The translations are often accurate for simple documents. However, the translations may be less reliable for more complex documents.

Learn more about the accuracy of Google Translate here.

Can I translate a document without opening it in Google Docs?

Yes, you can use Google Translate to translate an entire document without opening it in Google Docs. Simply upload your document to the website and choose the target language.

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