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These days, the world has become a smaller place to live in. Quite often, there is a need to translate a document or email (or conversation Translation for MSN: Auto Translates Messages While Chatting Translation for MSN: Auto Translates Messages While Chatting Read More ) of yours or one you received a colleague into another language.

Most free translation tools available for such translations are scarce, not quite accurate and generally have a price tag attached to them. There are some great, free options nevertheless. Karl reviewed Polyglot 3000 Identify Language of Text with Polyglot 3000 Identify Language of Text with Polyglot 3000 Read More and found it quite awesome. Maria found 4 great online translation tools Top 4 Online Translation Services Top 4 Online Translation Services Read More . Plus some more translation tools were profiled on MakeUseOf Directory.

I’m here to show you 3 more free translation tools that you can use to get the job done easily.

Google Translate

Google Translate dominates them all. It’s free, it supports auto-detection and it many different languages. Earlier, we had to use different workarounds to get Google to translate the documents or copy and paste the text into the tiny Google Translate Box, however Google just made it a hell of a lot easier to translate your documents into other languages.

All you have to do is browse here, upload the document to you want to translate, choose the languages (or let it detect automatically) and hit translate. Boom, you have the results, right there in the language you understand.

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There are certain caveats:

  • The results are very good, but sadly not 100% accurate every time, but that is true for all Google Translations.
  • Your documents are converted to HTML and the results are displayed as HTML. So you will lose all the document formatting.
  • Not all document formats are supported, although most common formats like .doc, .docx, .pdf, .ppt(x) are.
  • Microsoft Office

    If you have Microsoft Office then you can use the built-in translate option to do the translations for you. While this cannot be termed as free, if you already have Microsoft Office you don’t need to pay anything else. Office 2007 users can find the option to translate under the Review Tab. Hitting translate displays the translated text. Office 2003 users can also translate the text via the Tools > Research > Translate option.

    OpenOffice Free Translation Tool

    On the other hand, if you happen to use OpenOffice, you should install the excellent Writer’s tools extension. Apart from translation, the extension also offers a truckload of other features. Note that Writer’s tools uses Google Translate to give you the desired results.

    Which one is the best? I prefer visiting Google Translate. A lot of other tools use Google anyway, plus displaying the result as HTML is better than having them displayed as plain text (because there is still some sanity from the formatting point of view).

    But that’s me. It boils down to personal preference in the end, because all of them share the same drawbacks – accuracy and loss of formatting are the two main culprits! If you are using Office or OpenOffice you might not want to leave the interface, or else if you don’t mind the digression, you can always visit Google Translate.

    Do you know of some better free Translation tools? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

    1. Mike
      December 27, 2009 at 6:21 am

      Google translate is great. My family uses it all the time to communicate with my Portuguese speaking wife. The translations aren't perfect, but usually understandable.

    2. Sam Adams
      August 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm

      I will try this.

    3. Lucy
      August 6, 2009 at 9:13 am

      Try also MyMemory, it's free and trnaslate and allows you to translate words and phrases in 40 different languages. MyMemory stems from the idea that we should not spend precious time to translate material that someone else has already translated mymemory.translated.net

    4. Alienor
      August 2, 2009 at 11:46 am

      There's an old saying about translation:
      Cheap, fast, good: pick any two.

    5. Trevor
      July 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

      What id like to see if Google Translate tools avalible offline or even in Mobile Format Nokia and WM. Another great language tool is a the Lonely planet Phase books for Nokia phones.

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