How to Translate in Google Sheets (GOOGLETRANSLATE)

- Written by Puneet

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Let’s say your company has offices in several countries, and each office sends you a file with their monthly expenses. You have columns for “Country,” “Office Name,” “Expense Category,” “Amount Spent,” and “Total Expenses.” You want to combine all the data into one Google Sheet. How headers are in different languages, and you need to translate this header into English.

In Google Sheets, there’s a function called “GOOGLETRANSLATE,” which you can use. In this tutorial, we will learn to use this function.

Using GOOGLETRANSLATE Function

As I said, GOOGLETRANSLATE helps you translate text from one language to another. You can use it by entering the text you want to translate, a code for the source language, and a code for the language you want to translate it to.

Here’s the syntax of the function in detail.        

=GOOGLETRANSLATE(text, source_language, target_language)
  • “text” is the word or phrase you want to translate. You can enter it directly in the function and refer to the cell where you have the text. If you want to add it to the function directly, you need to use quotation marks for this.
  • source_language” is the code for the language the text is currently in (also in quotation marks).
  • target_language” is the code of the language you want to translate the text into (also in quotation marks).

“en” stands for English, and ” pt-BR ” stands for Brazilian Portuguese. The function will then show the translated text “Country” from “País”.

=GOOGLETRANSLATE(B1, "pt-BR", "en")
googletranslate-function

To enter this function in a cell:

  1. Enter the function.
  2. Refer to the cell where you have the value.
  3. Specify the source language code.
  4. Also, specify the target language code.
  5. Hit enter to get the result.

Problem With GOOGLETRANSLATE

Sometimes, GOOGLETRANSLATE may not provide an accurate translation of specific terms. See the example below, where different translations for words from different languages are given.

problem-with-googletranslate

Sometimes, it doesn’t understand the context or nuances of the text. There can errors with idioms, slang, and phrases that don’t translate exactly. It might also not handle grammar rules well. Technical terms and jargon can also be challenging. So, always keep an eye on the results you get with it and try to adjust accordingly.

Codes for Languages to Translate

Here are the language codes you can use with the GOOGLETRANSLATE function:

Afrikaans (af), Albanian (sq), Arabic (ar), Armenian (hy), Azerbaijani (az), Basque (eu), Belarusian (be), Bengali (bn), Bosnian (bs), Bulgarian (bg), Catalan (ca), Cebuano (ceb), Chinese Simplified (zh-CN), Chinese Traditional (zh-TW), Corsican (co), Croatian (hr), Czech (cs), Danish (da), Dutch (nl), English (en), Esperanto (eo), Estonian (et), Finnish (fi), French (fr), Frisian (fy), Galician (gl), Georgian (ka), German (de), Greek (el), Gujarati (gu), Haitian Creole (ht), Hausa (ha), Hawaiian (haw), Hebrew (he), Hindi (hi), Hmong (hmn), Hungarian (hu), Icelandic (is), Igbo (ig), Indonesian (id), Irish (ga), Italian (it), Japanese (ja), Javanese (jv), Kannada (kn), Kazakh (kk), Khmer (km), Kinyarwanda (rw), Korean (ko), Kurdish (ku), Kyrgyz (ky), Lao (lo), Latin (la), Latvian (lv), Lithuanian (lt), Luxembourgish (lb), Macedonian (mk), Malagasy (mg), Malay (ms), Malayalam (ml), Maltese (mt), Maori (mi), Marathi (mr), Mongolian (mn), Myanmar (Burmese) (my), Nepali (ne), Norwegian (no), Nyanja (Chichewa) (ny), Odia (Oriya) (or), Pashto (ps), Persian (fa), Polish (pl), Portuguese (pt), Punjabi (pa), Romanian (ro), Russian (ru), Samoan (sm), Scots Gaelic (gd), Serbian (sr), Sesotho (st), Shona (sn), Sindhi (sd), Sinhala (Sinhalese) (si), Slovak (sk), Slovenian (sl), Somali (so), Spanish (es), Sundanese (su), Swahili (sw), Swedish (sv), Tagalog (Filipino) (tl), Tajik (tg), Tamil (ta), Tatar (tt), Telugu (te), Thai (th), Turkish (tr), Turkmen (tk), Ukrainian (uk), Urdu (ur), Uyghur (ug), Uzbek (uz), Vietnamese (vi), Welsh (cy), Xhosa (xh), Yiddish (yi), Yoruba (yo), and Zulu (zu).

Last Updated: May 30, 2024