HomeQ&ATranslating English to Spanish using the Google WordTranslator

Translating English to Spanish using the Google WordTranslator


My first language is English and I am learning Spanish. I have been using the Google translation tools to help me understand Spanish websites. It would be nice, whilst reading Spanish text to have the Google WordTranslator translate words to English as I hover over them with the mouse. However, I can't seem to be able to get the system to do this for me.

What settings do I need to have?

Thanks Tom

updated MAY 13, 2009
posted by tom5

3 Answers


For me I downloaded the google toolbar. After installing that you right click the toolbar since the translation tool is not enabled by default. Look for toolbar options, in there you should have a translation link. Enable that, then click edit and select the language you want, in this case spanish. Now restart the browser and you should have a new button on the toolbar. Click the button and you should have an option to enable the word translator. If there is not a check mark by it it is not enabled. Once enabled you should get a list of possible translations for each word on the screen. It works really good for me. Kind of along those same lines I would suggest downloaded the spanish dictionary for firefox, it gives you spell checker for typing spanish, highly recommended and very easy to install, you just go to the firefox add-ons page at mozilla.com and search for dictionaries and click install spanish dictionary.

On a slightly seaperate note another free resource I really like is open office 3.0 with the spanish dictionary enabled, it is a little more robust and you can type/spell check longer documents, and your not tied to the browser.

Hope this helps

updated MAY 13, 2009
posted by rlsharpton

I completely understand where you are comming from. For example, Google translates:

Agricultores, pescadores, montañeros, vendedores de periódicos, heladeros, tiendas de ropa de temporada, personas alérgicas o con otras afecciones en las que los factores meteorológicos puedan tener incidencias etc. y que, en ningún caso se omite o se tergiversa una información para favorecer a un sector determinado.


Farmers, fishermen, hikers, newspaper vendors, ice cream, shopping for seasonal allergies or other conditions in which the meteorological factors may have implications etc. and that in no case is omitted or misrepresented information to favor a particular sector.

(From an article relating to the importance of weather forecasting on the www.eltiempo.es website).

The idea of shopping for seasonal alergies sounds amusing!

Still even with the noted limitations, simple tools like these can help to improve vocabulary, but be warned....

updated MAY 12, 2009
posted by tom5

A machine translator as competent as Google's (compared to other much worse translators) does not translate word by word, otherwise you'd get even crappier translations. It needs to consider the position of the word in the sentence, and its relationship with the rest of the words to decide how to come up with something that makes sense at all.

For example, if you give it an isolated word, such as "hace", it translates it as "does", the most probable translation. However, the "hace" in "Hace la cama" is translated as "makes the bed" ("make" instead of "does"), which is pretty good, and "Hace la comida", "Makes food", without "the", like it did before.

If you give it "Tengo calor" (meaning "I am hot"), which word by word means "I have heat", it accurately gives the translation "I am hot", even though the words "am" and "hot" are not in the original sentence. If given "Tengo fiebre", it gives "I have a fever", even inserting an "a" which wasn't in the original Spanish sentence.

However, if you type "Hace sol" (meaning "It is sunny"), the translation suggested is "Hare sol", which makes no sense at all. "Hace calor" is translated as "Hot", instead of "It is hot". For some reason, it does not recognize "hace" properly. Also, if given "Tengo 10 años", instead of returning "I am 10 years old", it does a word by word translation, giving "I have 10 years".

Despite its weaknesses, the translator often does a decent job, but it needs the whole sentence, not just a word.

updated MAY 11, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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