Cannot understand my language? Technology helps.

by Volker Weber


My readership is quite international (see small map in the sidebar), so I should write everything in English, right? Wrong. Most of my readers speak German as their first language and learned English in school. I learned half a dozen languages, but I can only speak and write two of those with confidence. So I like to write German in about half of my posts, to make my German readers feel at home here.

Thomas suggested today that I put a translate button on my site for those people who do not understand the languages I write in. Thomas is from Sweden so his native language is one that I do not understand at all. But technology helps. If I encounter a language on the web that I do not understand, I use technology to help me out. For the iPhone there is Google Translate and Microsoft Translator, and probably a whole lot more.

I suggested to Thomas to use a browser plugin instead of me putting in a translate link. Since he was on the iPhone he shared my German post with Microsoft Translator and got the same one in English. Exciting times we live in.

Which tools do you use?


Da ich Chrome Nutzer bin, nutze ich das darin integrierte Übersetzungstool.
Englisch klappt vom Verständnis her bei mir so, bei allen anderen Sprachen fragt Chrome automatisch ob übersetzt werden soll.

Christopher Schmidt, 2018-11-01

Davon abgesehen, dass ich noch keinen Weg gefunden habe eine URL direkt zu übergeben, finde ich sehr hilfreich.

Gerhard Heeke, 2018-11-01

Google Chrome for websites, Google Translate for anything else.

John Keys, 2018-11-01

Thanks for pointing in Microsoft Translator for iOS.
Just installed it and from German to English seems way better than Google Translate.

Horia Stanescu, 2018-11-01

Ouch. I've always been under the impression that your German-language posts were more relevant to German visitors, while your English-language posts were aimed at international readers. I don't know where I got that idea, but I've always been absolutely certain of it. So I've generally skipped the German posts. I have a variety of tools that could translate them, but I usually haven't done so. And now you're telling me I've missed lots of good content over the years. Bummer.

Rob McDonagh, 2018-11-01

Rob, you are generally right. But recently I wrote more in German. You would not have missed much.

Volker Weber, 2018-11-01

I use Bing with the Microsoft Translator plug-in to keep up with you. ;)

Amy Blumenfield, 2018-11-01

I'm also using deepL, the quality is impressive

Nina Wittich, 2018-11-01

Till now Google Translator, but now Microsoft Translator! Great Safari Plug-in.
Here in Belgium German is our third language, but still difficult.


Ludwig Deruyck, 2018-11-01

Google Chrome Browser for me with Google Translate. I rarely miss a post - German or English. :-)

John Lindsay, 2018-11-01

deepl is really impressive. My personal observation is that it especially outperforms Google translate in translating complete sentences. Even technical documentations get translated in a very good quality.

Pascal Decker, 2018-11-01

Until now, i haven‘t used any translation mechanisms for whole texts. Google translate for words.

But now... installed this microsoft translator and ... wow.

Thanks a lot.

Thorsten Köbe, 2018-11-01

For texts I use Google Translate and Microsoft Translator on iOS - the OCR & in-place translation is really awesome at times. In the desktop I use Google Translate via Web UI.
For individual words I usually turn to

Ragnar Schierholz, 2018-11-01

Good point Ragnar, I forgot about - it's really good for translating even quite exotic individual words. I use it, and the discussion forums quite a lot.

John Keys, 2018-11-01

Google translate for “weird” languages. That is everything else than de, sv (no, dk), en, es and some fr/it.

Federico Hernandez, 2018-11-01

For individual words, there also is which comes in handy once in a while.

They show translation in context using files found on the web in both languages.

Example from my field of work:ßfuge


Ole Saalmann, 2018-11-01

I usually don’t read languages I don’t understand at all. Highly recommend the online dictionaries of for individual words and expressions. Great iOS app as well.

Jochen Kattoll , 2018-11-02

So far Google Translate, didn't know about Microsoft Translator ... very good tool!

Harald Gärttner, 2018-11-02

DeepL - number one for complete sentences. By far outperforming anything else I have tried out so far.
Google Translate for iOS and Chrome Browser translation in everyday use and for exotic languages.
In addition, and for English: Oxford English Dictionary (not really for translations, but very valuable).
I'll need to try Microsoft Translator.

Sven Bühler, 2018-11-02

DeepL is really impressive. I just learned about them, they are a neighbour of us, just next door Im Mediapark, Cologne, Germany.

Felix Binsack, 2018-11-02

DeepL ist oft beeindruckend aber taugt nur fuer eine Handvoll europaeischer Sprachen (gerademal sieben, Google bietet 104 Sprachen an) und man kann sich die Aussprache nicht vorspielen lassen. Aber die Resultate sind Google Translate und Bing Translate in der Regel ueberlegen.

Google Translate fuer alle Sprachen die von DeepL nicht abgedeckt werden. Und zum Anhoeren der Aussprache.

Bing Translate zum gelegentlichen Crosscheck weil man Google Translate nicht alles glauben kann. ist prima zum Schmoekern und fuer knifflige Faelle.

Ich habe meist zu tun mit Deutsch, Englisch, Indonesisch, Chinesisch und Japanisch.

Juergen Heinrich, 2018-11-02

As someone who put a lot of effort into learning German, only to return to the UK into an industry which made little/no effort to use anything but English, I take great delight in trying to read German posts.
To assist I use which I was introduced to during my course as it includes extra features such as Conjugation and context so you can see options for that snippet you put in to be translated. I have not compared this with other tools but the extras help me believe I have not given up yet.

Kevin Johnston, 2018-11-02

Microsoft Translator has also a nice Apple Watch App: Speak the text, get a written translation but also the option to let it read out loud to hear how it is pronounced.

Harald Gärttner, 2018-11-06

Danke für den Tipp, das probiere ich aus.

Volker Weber, 2018-11-06

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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