How To Use Chrome To Learn A Foreign Language While Browsing The Web

Saikat Basu 02-07-2013

chrome foreign languageKnowing a second language fluently is a good career move. Who knows, it could win you a foreign posting or the very least help you start a small career on the side after retirement. Sites like Duolingo Learn A Language And Translate For Practice With Duolingo (Now Open To All!) The internet has given us some fantastic tools for language learning, and Duolingo is the latest site to give it a go. It's just come out of closed beta and is now available for everyone... Read More and Busuu Learn A Foreign Language On The Web & On The Go With Busuu We’ve covered numerous language learning tools before, such as the excellent LiveMocha and 18 other great language learning sites. We’ve even looked at Busuu before, but today we’re going to take a more in-depth look,... Read More make it easy to get rid of any excuses not to learn a new language. With the web as your language teacher, you don’t have to pay this tutor a dime.


Tina told us about some innovative ways to pick up a new foreign language 3 Innovative Ways To Learn Or Improve A Foreign Language Read More . One of the more natural ways to learn anything is to immerse oneself in that environment. In fact, if you stay in a foreign country for any length of time, you naturally pick up some of the colloquialisms. Well, the best way to save yourself the price of a plane ticket is to use the browser to travel. Travel the web with Chrome and take the help of these Chrome foreign language extensions to learn a language while you are simply browsing.

Language Immersion for Chrome

If immersive learning was what I was talking about, then the Language Immersion for Chrome (LIC) is a fine example of how you can learn a new language by putting yourself in some sort of an artificial environment. LIC works by switching random English words in the websites you normally visit, to a language of your choice. LIC supports the 64 languages currently supported by Google Translate. We had earlier talked about the usefulness of Google Translate as a language learning tool Improve Your Language Skills With Google Translate and Dictionary Read More . LIC is a fine extension which proves the concept. You can set your fluency level and the language to translate to. You can roll over the words and see its translation and the original word again. The details page of the Chrome foreign language extension also says that with a rollover you can hear the audio pronunciation, though this wasn’t working for me.

chrome foreign language

Perhaps, that’s why the developers say that this is an experiment and the results may not be accurate always. It is an interesting way to look at foreign words nonetheless and learn a little bit casually.




Flewent works very similarly to Language Immersion for Chrome by turning some words in an English webpage into the language of your choice. One of the differences is that in LIC you can set up three levels of fluency; with Flewent, you can specify a convert percentage. The convert percentage alludes to how much of the webpage you want to translate into the foreign language. You can click on the translated word and see the original word in English. The other significant difference is the automatic dictionary which lists all the words the extension translates on the English webpage. You can refer to it and also edit it if you find the translations somewhat off the mark. Flewent also seemed to be faster than LIC with its translations from English to the language of your choice and back again.

Do note that Flewent works only on webpages in English.


We have talked about spaced repetition How To Be A Smarter Learner By Using The Method Of Spaced Repetitions Spaced repetition is a method that can help you plateau out the downward curve of your forgetfulness and help you memorize large amounts of data. It is an accelerated learning technique. This article is about... Read More and flashcards for language learning Learn A New Language With Anki's Flash Card System Read More before. ReadLang is an interesting Chrome extension that takes the same approach. The How-To for the extension tells you to visit any webpage (preferably with a long article) in the language you are learning. Clicking on the ReadLang button loads and saves the article in ReadLang. You can move through the article and test yourself by clicking the foreign words and looking at their English translations. ReadLang gives you a flashcard feature that loads the words you tried to learn via the translations. You can review your learning and use spaced repetition to strengthen your language skills.

google chrome foreign language


As the site says — It is for language learners who want to read in their target language and to translate the words and phrases they don’t understand.

Speed Learning

google chrome foreign language

Speed learning is one of those unobtrusive Chrome extensions tucked away in the far corners of the Web Store. It is a simple Chrome extension that enables you to save a new language’s words and associated sentences on Google Spreadsheet. When you see a sentence with the word, you can select and right-click the sentence and save the selected texts to Google Docs. You can focus on one word in the sentences and use the sentence structure to learn it in context. You will see a document with the file name of “SL_vocabulary” in your Google Drive.

chrome foreign language


What this does is help you create a reference sheet quickly while browsing the web. You can take this spreadsheet and print it out or send it to your mobile device for learning a new language on the go.

There are many ways to pick up words and learn a new language. It seems that even casual browsing can now help you get a feel of a foreign tongue if you put in the effort of installing any of these four Chrome foreign language extensions. Are you on the path of language learning? Tell us about your impressions about these extensions. Know of any other that I might have missed in the store?

Image Credit: Laptop and foreign language via Shutterstock

Related topics: Google Chrome, Language Learning.

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  1. Anonymous
    July 17, 2015 at 10:51 am

    These look great - but does anyone know of a tool that works the other way around? So, for example, I'm trying to learn French: if I'm reading a page from a French newspaper, it would be great when I get stuck just to roll over the word to get the English translation (without translating the whole page or copy and pasting it into Google translate).

    (Has anything new come out in the two years since this was posted?)

    Am I missing an obvious solution? or am I just being lazy?

    • Saikat Basu
      July 23, 2015 at 4:07 am

      Michael, there are bound to be some Chrome extensions which do the kind of "instant translation" that you want. Maybe, try < [Broken Link Removed] . Or Google's own translation extension.

  2. Angela Alcorn
    July 25, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I've just installed all of these. They look awesome. :)

    • Saikat Basu
      July 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Which language are you trying to learn? French probably :)

      • Angela Alcorn
        July 30, 2013 at 7:49 am

        Yes, French as always. But I'm able to tell these extensions to change rather a lot of text. I'm getting better. :)

  3. Ellen O
    July 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Really interesting, thanks! Are there similar options for Firefox? That's the browser I mainly use.

    • Saikat Basu
      July 9, 2013 at 6:46 am

      There are quite a few in fact. A casual browse gave me FireLang, Taalnu, and Learnu-fr. You can look into them.

  4. Onaje A
    July 4, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Really good for children...

  5. Don Gateley
    July 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Great info. I had no idea such apps existed but being someone who has a weird memory, with a huge English vocabulary and an inordinate difficulty learning foreign vocabulary, they look like a godsend.

    If such things exist for Firefox, I'd appreciate you researching that for an article as well.

    • Saikat B
      July 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Sure, I will do that :) I am probably just like you: can't remember a word of a foreign language except the ones which have become a part of English!

  6. Sudeepto Dutta
    July 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    You can enable the audio pronunciation by clicking on the wrench icon beside the language drop down menu & select audio translation check-box

    Also to hear the translations , you have to click on the highlighted text ; hovering over only shows you the english translation :)