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February 26, 2010

Translate Web Pages in Google Chrome

Google Chrome 5's dev build has a feature that detects the language of a web page and lets you translate it without opening a new page. The feature is borrowed from Google Toolbar, but Google Chrome is the first browser that translates web pages without requiring an add-on.

When you visit a page written in another language, Chrome shows an infobar that asks if you want to translate the web page. You can ignore the message, change the language that was automatically detected or translate the web page. If you click on "Translate", Google Chrome will translate the page and will no longer prompt you when you click on a link from the page.

"Look for the blue translation bar at the top of the page, whenever you come across a page written in a language that doesn't match the browser interface language you've selected. Translation is currently available for 52 languages. If you choose to translate a page, the text of that page is sent to Google's translation service for translation. Your cookies are not sent along with that request and, if the page you are on is encrypted with SSL, Chrome also sends the translation request over SSL," explains Google.

If you click on the "Options" button, Chrome lets you disable translation for the current language or for the site you're visiting. For now, there's no option to disable the feature or to manage a blacklist of domains and languages.

While this feature is brilliant and it work for almost any web page, including web apps like Gmail or Google Docs, I'm not sure if it's a great idea to translate pages encrypted with SSL. Someone could click on the "Always translate" option and inadvertently send confidential information to Google's servers.

To try this feature, install Chrome dev channel, a buggier and less polished version of Chrome, or wait until a stable Chrome 5 build is released. A similar implementation is available in Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. There's also a Chrome extension for translating web pages.

{ Thanks, Jason. }

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