Jimmy's Blog Jimmy Ruska's Blog
Unofficial Google Translate Firefox Extension Posted on Saturday, April 5 2008

Download it

You can download my Google Translate extension here or from the mozilla page (requires login). You have to click the thing that pops up in the upper right hand corner of the browser after clicking here, edit options -> and say allow publisher. Unofficial means it's made by me and not by Google Translate. It's very safe though and only 8K in filesize.

If you have any problems installing you can also try this zip file. Just download, extract, and drag and drop the file ending in ".xpi" into firefox. Feel free to redistribute it unmodified too.

Video Tutorial on Howto Use

Embed: Link: Watch Full Screen | Download


I've had 493 comments on the youtube video above the majority saying they used the extension successfully. The extension has been tested Ubuntu, Mac, Vista, XP, with the latest firefox and firefox 3 release candidate 1. If you have extensions that already have alt+clicking reserved this extension will not work. It's only javascript and XUL so the OS should not make a difference.

Bugs that aren't bugs

The translation box won't disappear when I click it
This happens when javascript has been disabled on your browser.
I click alt then click the text and nothing happens
1. You need to hold down alt while clicking the a word or selected / highlighted text.
2. It's possible another firefox extension has already reserved alt clicking.
When I alt click it drags firefox.
Certain linux desktop environment have this enabled. I'll add a right click translate alternative in the future
Translate page option gives an error
It can't seem to translate SSL pages, pages that start with https.


It supports all the languages Google Translate has listed at the time I'm writing this. Just right click anywhere on the page and chose "translate from" and "translate to" from the bottom of the list (see screenshot below).


To translate just highlight / select a phrase and hold down alt and left click it or mousehwheel click, ctrl+alt+click and shift alt click also works. You can also alt+click a word without selecting anything to translate just that word.

Example Output: English to Spanish


Closing the little box is as easy as clicking on it. The translation is automatically copied to your clipboard.

Possible Future Upgrades

  1. Scrollable list of languages
  2. Check box by selected languages?
  3. Option to manually input any word or phrase when right clicking.
  4. Each word clickable to go to a definitions page?
  5. Draggable boxes?


Add More Languages

Because it queries Google Translate I can only have the language pairs Google Translate supports; I can't add more languages.

Get a better Translation

The quality of the translation depends on the language pairs. Don't be surprised if it's not perfect, there are many definitions for the same word and a lot of the meaning comes from the context words are used in. Take Google for what it is, incredibly fast with a useful word by word translation. Some languages likes japanese / korean / chinese can have different sounds represented by the same symbol so things get even more complicated, not to mention their grammar is completely different. Google may have some contextual analysis but if it does, it's minimal.

Tags: firefox extension, google translate, click to translate, easy translation in browser

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