Use the website Google translate for genealogy research

Google TranslateBy Barry J. Ewell

Google translate is a free service that provides a translations in the top 90+ languages. You can find the website by doing a Google search for “Google Translate” or going to https://translate.google.com/.  The following are few of the ways you can effectively use the tool.

Translate text (words and sentences). You can type (copy/ paste) words/phrases into the Google translate and it will provide you the translation in one of 90+ languages. Do the following:

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. At the top of the page, choose the languages to translate between. If you aren’t sure what language you want to use, click Detect language.
  3. Start typing and the translation will appear automatically. The more you type, the more accurate your translation will be.
  4. You might see a simple dictionary below your translation that shows parts of speech, possible word variations, or uses.

Learn about your word. When you type word (copy/paste) and translate to the same language (e.g., English to English you will receive the following information:

  • Definition of the word (noun and verb)
  • Synonyms (noun and verb)
  • Examples of use
  • Similar translation queries

Translate documents.  You can upload and translate documents from y our computer. Do the following

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. Click on the “translate a document” link that appears right below the translate text box on the left. You will be presented with browse button that will allow you to upload a document.  The format should be PDF, TXT, DOC, PPT, XLS, or RTF. Note: Some of the original formatting might not come through in the translation.
  3. Find you’re the document on your computer that you desire to translate.
  4. Select the language above the right text box in which you desire to see the document translated.
  5. Click Translate and you will be presented with the translation.
  6. You can upload and translate documents by clicking on the “Translate a document” link that appears in the text box on the left.

Translate web sites to any language.  If you come across a website that is in a language you do not understand, have Google translate help you.  Do the following:

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. Type (copy/paste) the URL of desired website you wish to translate into the box on the left.
  3. Select language above the right text box in which you desire to see the website translated.
  4. Click Translate and you will be linked to the website with text translated.

Speak to translate.  Speak into your microphone to have Google translate a word you do not know how to write. Do the following

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. In the bottom left corner of the text box, touch the microphone .
  3. When told to “Speak now,” say what you want to translate. In some languages, you’ll hear the translation spoken back to you.

Save phrases. You can create a phrasebook of past translations to see again in the future. You can access your phrasebook when you’re offline and from translate.google.com on any computer or device. Do the following

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. Translate a word or phrase.
  3. Click the star icon next to your translation.
  4. When you open your phrasebook, you’ll see the translation there.

To delete phrasebook entries do the following

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. In the top right, click Phrasebook .
  3. To delete a translation, check the box to the left of it, then click trash .

Listen to the translation. If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a particular word, click on the speaker icon that is presented in the in either text box and you will hear the word in the chosen language.

See multiple definitions for a word/phase. You can click on any word or phrase in the translation text box and be presented with several other optional translations.

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. At the top of the page, choose the languages to translate between. If you aren’t sure what language you want to use, click Detect language.
  3. Start typing and the translation will appear automatically. The more you type, the more accurate your translation will be.
  4. You might see a simple dictionary below your translation that shows parts of speech, possible word variations, or uses.
  • Note: You need to have Javascript turned on for your browser to see your translations instantly. If you don’t have Javascript, you can click Translate to see your results.

Modify your keyboard to search in other languages
If you need to translate into a language that has different characters, you can change your keyboard layout. Do the following

  1. Visit the Google Translate page.
  2. At the top of the page, choose the languages to translate between. If you don’t choose the two languages, you won’t be able to change your keyboard.
  3. Click the down arrow to the right of the microphone icon.
  4. Click the keyboard icon .
  5. Choose the keyboard you want to use.
  6. On the keyboard that appears, click the letters you want to search for.
  • Depending on what language you’re searching in, you’ll see options for typing by speech or handwriting and modify the keyboard.

Other websites you may want to consider for translation are as follows:

Use the Google translate app  
Download the Google translate app to Android, iPhone, iPad and dot the following

  • Type to translate languages
  • Speak and let Google translate
  • Translate offline with no internet connection
  • Translate text from photos you have shot
  • Use your camera to translate text
  • Get two-way automatic speech translation
  • Download language packs when you’re traveling
  • and more

Here is just a few of the ways the Google translation app can help you

Translate text. You can translate words or phrases using Google Translate.

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. At the top of the screen, touch the language buttons at the top of the screen to select the languages to translate between.
  3. Type the words you want translated in the box.
  4. If the translation doesn’t show instantly, touch the arrow .
  • Tip: To see your translation in full screen mode, turn your device sideways.

 Listen to your translation. In some languages, you’ll see the Listen icon next to your translation.  Touch the icon to hear your translation.

Translate images. With the Translate app, you can translate text in images—either in a picture you’ve taken or imported, or just by pointing your camera.

Translate instantly by pointing your camera. You can translate text you see around you just by pointing your camera lens at it.

  1. Open the Translate app.
  2. Choose the languages you want to translate between.
  3. Touch the camera icon Translate camera icon.
  4. Point your camera at the text you want to translate. The translated text will appear on the screen instantly.
  • Note: Translations are not perfect and might not work if the text is too small, written by hand or in a stylized font, or not well-lit.

Download languages for instant camera translations. Some language pairs need to be downloaded before you can translate between them with the instant camera. Downloaded languages can be used for offline translations, too.

Android

  1. Open the Translate app.
  2. On top right, touch the Menu icon Menu icon> Settings > Instant camera languages .
  3. To the right of the language pair, touch download.
  4. When Asked if you want to download the Language pair package, click OK.
  5. When the language pair is done downloading, you’ll see it in under “Installed.”

iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. On the bottom right, touch settings .
  3. Touch Instant camera languages .
  4. To add a language, touch the add icon, Then select a language pair.
  5. When Asked if you want to download the Language pair package, click OK.
  6. When the language pair is done downloading, you’ll see it in under “Installed.”

   Translate a picture you take with your device

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Choose the languages you want to translate between.
  3. Touch the Camera Translate camera icon.
  4. To take a picture, touch the Camera again Translate camera icon.
  5. Use your finger to highlight the text you want to translate.

 Translate images already on your device

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Choose the languages you want to translate between.
  3. Touch the Camera Translate camera icon.
  4. Touch Import Insert photo.
  5. Choose the photo you want to translate.
  6. Use your finger to highlight the text you want to translate.

Translate offline. You can download languages onto your device so you can use the Translate app when you’re offline. This is helpful when you don’t have an Internet connection.

Download languages to use offline (Android only)

  1. Open the Translate app on your Android device.
  2. Touch a language name at the top of the screen.
  3. To the right of the language name, touch download . If you don’t see the download icon next to a language, it isn’t available for download.
  4. When the language is done downloading, you’ll see a check mark.

  Remove offline languages (Android only)

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Touch a language name at the top of the screen.
  3. To the right of the language name you want to remove, touch .
  4. When asked if you want to remove the offline package, touch OK.

Keep in mind:

  • Not all offline languages can be used for instant camera translations. See the offline languages available for instant camera translations.
  • To avoid potential delays or extra data usage charges, only download when you’re on Wi-Fi.
  • For iPhone and iPad, you can only download offline languages for instant camera translations.

Translate by speech. You can translate words or phrases by speaking. In some languages, you’ll also hear your translation spoken back to you. Translating by speech doesn’t work in some languages. The speech button will be grayed out for languages that can’t be translated that way.

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Touch the language buttons at the top of the screen to select the languages to translate between.
  3. Touch the microphone .
  4. When told to “Speak now,” say what you want to translate. In some languages, you’ll hear the translation spoken back to you.
  • Tip: You might also be interested in translating a bilingual conversation.

Choose a dialect. In some languages, you can choose a dialect so Google can better understand what you say.

Android

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Touch the Menu Menu icon> Settings> Speech input.
  3. In the “Dialects” section, choose your dialect.

iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. In the bottom right corner, touch Settings  > Speech input.
  3. Choose the language you want to choose a dialect for.
  4. Choose your dialect.

Translate by handwriting. You can draw characters and see their translation using the Translate app. This is helpful for translating words when you don’t know how to type the characters.

How to translate by handwriting
Note: Some languages won’t work with handwriting. The handwriting button will be grayed out for these languages.

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Choose languages by touching the language buttons at the top of the screen.
  3. Touch Hand-write .
  4. In the box that says “Write here,” draw a character, word, or phrase.

Resize the handwriting box (Android only)
To make the handwriting box bigger or smaller, touch and hold Drag . Then move it higher or lower on the screen.

Translate a bilingual conversation. You can use the Translate app to talk with someone in a different language. The Translate app will recognize which of the two languages is being spoken, which lets you have a natural conversation.

Start a bilingual conversation

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Touch the language buttons at the top of the screen to choose your languages.
  3. Touch the microphone .
  4. The first person can start speaking. When they’re done, you’ll hear the translation in the other language.
  5. Touch the microphone in the bottom of the screen . When the app makes a sound and the microphone turns red, the person who speaks the other language can talk.
  6. From now on, when the app makes a sound and the microphone turns red, the app will translate between the two languages.

If you want the app to listen to one specific language, press that language button on the bottom of the screen.

Translate webpages and documents. You can translate special types of content, like websites, documents, and text messages.

Translate text messages (Android app only)

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. On the Translate home screen, touch Menu Menu icon> SMS translation.
  3. Touch the message you want to translate.

View or delete your translation history. You can use your translation history in the Translate app to quickly access a previous translation even when you’re offline. Your past translations are shown on your Translate app Home screen. Tip: You might also be interested in saving your translations to a phrasebook you can access later.

Delete an item from your history. To delete an individual translation from your history, swipe it to the right or left.

 Android

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Touch the Menu icon Menu icon> Clear history> Yes.

 iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. In the bottom right corner, touch Settings  > Clear Translation History> OK.

Save translations in a phrasebook. You can create a phrasebook of past translations to see again in the future. You can access your phrasebook when you’re offline and from translate.google.com on any computer or device.

Add a phrasebook entry

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Translate the word or phrase you want to add.
  3. Next to the translation, touch the star.
  4. When you open your phrasebook, you’ll see the translation there.

View or delete phrasebook entries

Android app

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. Touch Menu Menu icon> Phrasebook.
  3. To delete a translation, touch and hold it, then touch Trash .
  • Tip: If you use the Translate app on multiple Android devices, touch Sync to see your saved translations from all of your devices.

iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Translate app .
  2. At the bottom of the page, touch the star .
  3. To delete a translation from your phrasebook, touch the star again