How to Use Google Translate in Google Sheets

Sheets Featured

Google Translate is a handy tool when learning a new language. With the Google Translate app, you have various options available such as identifying a language or using your camera to translate a sign (among others). It’s also possible to use Google Translate in other Google services such as Sheets. By inserting a simple code into a cell, you can translate any language into another. Let’s see how it’s done.

Translate Any Language in Google Sheets

To use Google Translate, open Google sheets, and type the word you want to translate in any cell. For example, type the word “cat” in cell A1. Click on the cell, and type =googletranslate, and the option to select Google Translate will appear.

Your second option is to enter the entire code yourself: =GOOGLETRANSLATE("text", "source language", "target language")

Replace “text” with the text you want to translate. The source language needs to be the language the text is in, and the target language has to be the language you want the text to be translated into.

Sheets Code

You can also replace “text” for the cell that the text you want to translate is in. For example, if the text you want to translate is in A1, instead of typing the quotation marks and the word text, replace it with A1, but don’t add the quotation marks. Click on the cell, and it will be added automatically.

Don’t write out the entire language. For example, when choosing either the source or target language, don’t type English, type “en” instead. If the language you’ve selected is Spanish, type “es.” You will get an error message if you type the full name of the language.

If you don’t like any of the previously mentioned options, Sheets has a Google Translate option hidden deep into its options. Go to “Insert -> Functions -> Google -> Google Translate.”

Sheets Insert

Apply Translation Code to Various Cells Simultaneously

You don’t have to repeat the process for every word you want to translate. Let’s say that you tried out the methods to only translate one word in cell A1. Click on the cell that the text was translated to. Place the cursor at the bottom right of the cell until you see a cross symbol.

When you see it, click and drag it so it covers the number of cells you want. When you let go, Google sheets will place a message in each cell, letting you know that an error has occurred. This error message will gradually disappear as you type the text you want to translate in the cell beside it.

Sheets Drag

Once you’ve filled all the empty cells, you’ll only have to repeat the process if you want to translate more text.

The words you want to translate don’t have to be right next to each other. For example, if the word you want to translate or detect the language is in cell F10, add that position and type =detectlanguage(F10) and press Enter. The initials of the language will appear in the cell you’ve highlighted/chosen.

Detect Languages in Sheets with Google Translate

It’s a good idea to be prepared for everything, and that includes dealing with a language you can’t identify. Google Translate has that covered too.

In one cell, type the text in the language you want to identify. In the cell to the right, type =detectlanguage. After typing the first few letters, the option will appear.

Sheets Detect

Select the option and enter the cell whose language you want to detect and press Enter. Sheets will place the initials of the language to the right.

You can use the same drag option you used before when you wanted to translate different words. Place the cursor on the corner of the cell that has the language identifying code, and every word you type to the left of it will be translated.


Now you don’t have to switch between the Google Translate app and Google Sheets to either translate or identify a language. It can all be done without having to leave Sheets! Let us know how this works for you.

Fabio Buckell

Just a simple guy that can't enough of Technology in general and is always surrounded by at least one Android and iOS device. I'm a Pizza addict as well.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox