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April 9, 2010

Shortcuts for Google Translate and Google Dictionary

Here's a quick way to translate text directly from Google Search. Type the language pair, followed by the text you want to translate. For example, to translate "I love you" in French, search Google for: [en:fr love]. You can also type [translate love in french], but this query is longer.

For now, this feature only works for language pairs that include English: en:fr, fr:en (French), en:it, it:en (Italian), en:de, de:en (German), en:es, es:en (Spanish), en:ru, ru:en (Russian), en:zh, zh:en (Chinese), en:ja, ja:en (Japanese), en:ko, ko:en (Korean).

If you use the language pair en:en (English to English), Google shows definitions from Google Dictionary. For example, a search for [en:en astute] shows the definition of the word "astute" and the pronunciation. Google Dictionary uses definitions from Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.

You can also search for [astute definition], but the OneBox result shows definitions from WordNet.


  1. The language pair seems to be available for a very limited set of ISO-639. E.g., English to Hebrew (en:iw), English to Portuguese (en:pt) or Swedish (en:sv) don't work.

  2. The new feature recognizes some, but by no means all, alpha-2 language codes (ISO 639-1), and may not recognize any alpha-3 language codes (ISO 639-2) or alpha-2 country codes (ISO 3166-1). It fails to recognize at least one alpha-2 language code for a language that Google Translate does support.

    "chi" failed (supported language)

    "cn" failed (supported language)

    "dk" failed (supported language)

    "dn" failed (supported language)

    "fr" worked

    "it" worked

    "zh" worked

    "zho" failed (supported language)

  3. I do really like this feature, but I will be much happier with it once it starts working with all languages :)

  4. This is a good feature, but I'm worry about that you don't care about turkish :)

  5. I like it! It works nicely with English to Spanish and vice versa.

  6. Any guess why Google didn't include all languages?

    (More offtopic: I'm really eager to have all languages available, especially since forces me to switch between mouse and keyboard to fill in text, source/target lang, etc, and the top 3 (=too few) choices change too fast (i.e. don't accumulate my usage over time). On top, feels slow to load. A cold cache reload takes 1.26s.)

  7. Maybe because the feature is not documented on Google's site, so it's not officially released.

  8. could just use "define:" rather than "en:en"

  9. It doesn't work anymore???

  10. too bad it doesn't work anymore!

  11. How do I enable this feature. It is not working for me.

  12. When I posted this, the feature worked. Now it no longer works. There are other ways to trigger the smart answers:

    Translate ... into Italian
    Define ...

  13. Will this feature be back anytime soon? It was very useful for me while worked :-(

  14. It doesn't work for me current. I could have sworn it did at one point.

  15. I use "define: " for all my definition queries. For example, "define: astute".

  16. Definitely buggy... For example, "en:en web" doesn't return any results from google dictionary, however, if I access directly and search for web, it returns results. Using the define: search operator works normally of course.

  17. the following query seems to work:
    translate en:nl astute

    some language abreviations are different that you'd expect danish for example is da instead of dk. To find the correct abreviation check the address bar in google translate when you select the correct language.

    Strange thing is, that"
    translate en:da astute
    returns no direct result (it does in the translate page op google translate)

    translate en:da house
    returns a direct result.

  18. It doesn't work at all at the moment :(


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