When Google launched its Chrome web browser in 2008, Google included native integration of the company’s translation service into the browser soon after.
Chrome users can use this feature to translate web pages to another language using native options. The translation toolbar would automatically appear on foreign language pages, making the whole experience user-friendly and convenient.
Other browsers at the time, Internet Explorer, Opera or Firefox, supported translations, but only through browser extensions.
The feature has been part of Chrome for a long time, but Google hasn’t improved it. In recent years, other browsers have started to develop built-in translation functionality. Microsoft’s Edge browser, the one based on Chromium, supports native translations. The browser uses Microsoft Translator for translations and not Google Chrome, but the core functionality is the same. The classic version of Edge only supported translations through browser add-ons.
Last year, Microsoft introduced support for translating text selections instead of the entire webpage. To do this, Edge users must right-click on the selected text and enable the “translate selection to” option to have it translated. The selected text is changed to the target language when the translation function is invoked by the user.
Reddit user Leoparda64-2 discovered that Google’s plan to bring partial translation functionality into Chrome is progressing. The feature can be used to translate selections, but the process is different from how it’s handled in Edge.
Chrome users can right-click on selected text and select the “Translate to” option from the context menu, but the translated text is not displayed on the page but in a bubble in an overlay.
The feature is not fully implemented at this point. Although available in the context menu on some user devices, translations do not currently occur. Google engineers are still working to add the missing pieces of code to Chrome to enable full translation functionality in the browser.
Edge isn’t the only browser that supports partial translations. Vivaldi introduced support for translating chunks of text last year, using its privacy-friendly translation feature. Mozilla is working on the translate feature and Firefox users can install an early version of Firefox Translate in the browser, but it’s still quite limited.
Partial translation functionality is a welcome addition to the browser. You may encounter multiple languages on a site, for example, when browsing through comments on a site, some may be in different languages. Browsers that only support whole-page translations may not even detect them. This is probably one of the main reasons for the popularity of translation extensions for Chrome that support partial translations.
Now you: What translation features would you like to see supported by your browser?