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Monday, March 2, 2009

Free Online Language Translation: Best Services To Translate Your Documents - Mini-Guide

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Do you need a quick translation while working online? It can be an e-mail from a colleague, the lyrics of a song, an e-mail, or even a web page. All you need to do is try one of the free language translation services I personally selected and reviewed in this mini-guide.

Photo credit: rosendo

Oftentimes you might need some information for a work you're preparing, your thesis, or any other reason, but what if those info are not in your own language? Do you need to buy a dictionary and start translating? Sure, you can do that, but you can be way smarter!

Lucky for you there are plenty of online services to help you translate texts, documents, web pages, or e-mails. All without spending a dime. I'm sure you're already familiar with the Google Language Tools, but there are a few alternatives I suggest you check out.

These translation tools all work pretty much the same way. You just copy and paste the text you need to translate, and then select the language you are translating from / to. Et voilá, you're done! It's as simple as that, even if it may take a while if you are translating an entire web page or a very long document.

Curious? Do you want to know more about these free online translation services?

Here below the set of key basic characteristics that I have utilized to compare the tools I hand-picked and reviewed, so that you can easily find the best language translation service for your needs:

  1. Translation sources: Some of these services not only translate a single word or a text, but even a web page or an e-mail.
  2. Word Limit: Usually you can translate for free up to 150 words, but the very best services in these guide have a higher word limit, or even none at all.
  3. Special features: What if you have to translate from a language which is not your own? You may not have some special characters in your keyboard (say the ñ in Spanish). But the best tools in this guide have this feature built right in, so you don't have to worry about that.
  4. File uploading: It can be quite a hassle to copy and paste text from a long document, but services like SYSTRANet let you upload files right from your desktop.


Free Online Language Translation

  1. SDL

    SDL is a free online translation service that you can use to translate blocks of text, or even web pages. Each text can be up to 4-5 pages or about 4,000 to 5,000 words, which is about 8 or 10 pages of a fairly dense document. Worth mentioning is the special character feature that lets you add characters which you don't have on your keyboard without changing its layout.

  2. WorldLingo

    WorldLingo is an online language translation service that allows you to translate texts, documents, web pages or even e-mails from and to a language of your choice. Just submit the text or files that you need to read in another language and let WorldLingo do the rest. WorldLingo is completely free to use, but the maximum length of the text you can convert is set to 150 words.

  3. Yahoo! Babel Fish

    Yahoo! Babel Fish is a free online service to translate a block of text or web pages. Powered by the SYSTRAN translation engine, Yahoo! Babel Fish is the most popular of these services and allows the translation of texts up to 150 words from and to a large set of languages. Just paste your text or URL inside the translator window and let Yahoo! Babel Fish work for you.

  4. PROMT Translator

    PROMT Translator is a free online language translation service that works either with texts and web pages. Unlike other similar services, not many languages are available, but you have advanced features like transliteration or displaying variants for your translated text. You can also check the spelling of your text before submitting a translation, and there's no limit to the words you can translate.

  5. Reverso

    Reverso is an online service that provides you with a free translation of a given text. Not many pairs of languages are available, but Reverso comes with the useful special character feature so you can use all those chars which are not available in your country language and keyboard layout. No word limit for your translations.

  6. Google Language Tools

    Google Language Tools allows you to translate a text or a web page in another language instantly. The service is completely free, web-based, and supports all the principal languages spoken across the World. Despite being no word limit for the text you can translate, unlike other similar tools, Google Translation Tools has no special character feature, or offers to upload documents from your hard-disk for immediate translation.

  7. SYSTRANet

    SYSTRANet is a free online translation service that allows you to type a text, or even access files directly from your desktop, preserving customization and format. You can then select the language pair, the custom topic dictionary that best fit your content, and an option to introduce some custom terms that you may want to utilize in your translated documents. No limit to the length of the text and the possibility to use special characters make up for a powerful software.

  8. WordReference

    WordReference is a free online translator and dictionary that helps you translate single words or find their meaning. Just type the words you need to translate and select the source and target language. You can also embed a mini version of the translator in your web page or use the iPhone / iPod Touch app.

  9. Babylon

    Babylon is a free online service to make a language translation. With a clean and easy-to-use interface Babylon allows you to translate from and to more than 800 paired languages, with no limit to the text you can submit. The service is also available for a free download on your desktop, both for PCs and Macs.

  10. LOGOS

    LOGOS is a free online service for language translation. LOGOS allows you to translate single words from and into several languages or even use its powerful, built-in dictionary to look up for a definition of the words you want to translate. It is not possible to translate web pages.

  11. Ajeeb Translation

    The Tarim tool by Ajeeb Translation Site provides a free facility for translating between Arabic and English, and back. The service is either a text and a web page translator. A number of useful options are also offered to enhance the translation quality like: better accuracy, less layout, progressive translation, and transliteration.

Originally prepared by for MasterNewMedia, and first published on March 2, 2009 as "Free Online Language Translation: Best Services To Translate Your Documents - Mini-Guide".

Robin Good -
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Monday, March 2 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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