Website translation

When and how to use a paragraph translator – tips and suggestions

When and how to use a paragraph translator – tips and suggestions
Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Merve Alsan
Reviewed by
Updated on
June 19, 2023

Online paragraph translators are a dime a dozen these days, helping people get quick text translations mostly for free and without installing any translation software. Adding to their appeal, some of these tools also offer helpful features such as voice-to-text and handwriting inputs.

However, a downside of using an online paragraph translator is that you have very little control over the translations they produce. As a result, we don’t recommend relying on them for important translation work. This includes multilingual website content translation, where the quality of the translation is essential.

That said, these tools are still useful for informal, back-of-the-envelope translations. In this article, we’ll cover popular online paragraph translator options and how they can help meet simple translation needs. We’ll also share how our Weglot website translation solution is the better option if you have more extensive website translation needs with more professional translation results.

How online paragraph translators can help with informal translations

Are you looking to translate a trending tweet that’s in an unfamiliar language? Or do you want to know the meaning of a foreign language phrase that you’ve stumbled upon in a book? For situations where you need just a rough idea of the text’s meaning, using an online paragraph translator might do the trick. Some of these tools also come with convenient features such as:

  • Automatic source language detection, which is a lifesaver if you don’t know the language of the source text.
  • Translations for popular languages, such as English, Chinese (Simplified), French, Spanish, German, Russian and Portuguese.
  • Manual translation editing, so you can suggest more accurate translations for future users.
  • Swapping between the source and target languages, such as English to Italian and vice versa, with one click of a button.
  • A dictionary that explains the meaning of the translated text.
  • Voice functionality to transcribe spoken words into text to be translated, or speak the translated text so you can learn how to pronounce it.
  • Options for sharing the translated text via email or social media.

5 online paragraph translator tools (and their pros and cons)

Most online paragraph translator tools out there work in a similar fashion and have similar features. Simply provide the source text and select your language pair, and the tool will output the translated text. This makes the translation of paragraphs or short texts quick, easy and accessible to people all over the world.

Let’s take a look at five such tools and their pros and cons.

1. Google Translate

Google translate

No list of popular online translator tools is complete without Google Translate. It offers free online translations for a whopping close to 90 languages – including less commonly used languages, such as Amharic, Igbo and Latin. Voice and handwriting input options are available, which is handy if you need to write out characters (for languages such as Japanese) or if you know only how the word sounds like.

Apart from translating text snippets, Google Translate also supports document translations for Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint slides and PDF files, among other file types. And once Google Translate displays the translated text, you can click the loudspeaker icon to hear how it should be pronounced.

While Google Translate is a convenient tool for quick translations, it isn’t the most accurate out there. Errors in the grammar, structure and context of the translated text are common, so take the translation with a pinch of salt.

2. DeepL

deepl translator

DeepL is possibly the most nuanced and accurate online translator tool available in the market. Start typing the text that you need a translation for, and DeepL will automatically detect the language it is in. And the tool doesn’t stop at providing just one translation – it offers a few alternatives so you can pick the version that is the best match.

If you prefer your text to be translated in a particular way, use DeepL’s glossary to set translation rules for certain words and phrases. You can also upload your documents to be translated into DeepL, though only Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents are accepted at this time.

With DeepL’s high translation accuracy, it is the preferred option for many users. However, DeepL only supports 26 languages (mainly European), including Greek, Dutch, Swedish and Slovenian among others. In addition, it’s a freemium tool, meaning that there is a cap on the number of characters you can translate for free. You’re also limited to a certain number of monthly glossary entries and document uploads, among other restrictions, unless you upgrade to a paid plan.

3. Bing Microsoft Translator

bing microsoft translator

Being a Microsoft product, the Bing Microsoft Translator tool has a good reputation. It can translate over 85 languages, including less common ones like Hmong Daw, Odia and Yucatec Maya.

Uniquely, the tool provides translation shortcuts for widely used phrases such as “goodbye”, “happy birthday” and “how much does it cost?” These shortcuts may be useful for learning the basics of a new language. Once you’ve gotten your translated text, you can also listen to how it sounds like, suggest an edit or copy it to your clipboard.

However, given that the Bing Microsoft Translator can translate only up to 1,000 characters at a time, it may not be so ideal for translating long paragraphs. The tool also isn’t always reliable, especially for words that have multiple meanings. Depending on what you’re trying to translate, the tool might translate words one by one instead of evaluating the text holistically for a more accurate translation.

4. TranslateDict

translate dict

TranslateDict is a simple online paragraph translator tool with fewer features than some of the other tools in this list. For one, you can’t upload documents, or handwrite the text that you need a translation for. However, it does the essential task of translating written text decently well. You can also listen to the tool’s pronunciation of the translated text.

Over 50 languages are available, and you may be amused to learn that Klingon, a language from the Star Trek film and TV series, is one of them! Also, you can get the character and word counts of your translated text – which is a feature that not all other tools offer.

Tap on TranslateDict’s auto-detect feature if you aren’t sure what language your source text is in. Or if you find the accuracy of the translation lacking, you can get a quote for TranslateDict’s professional translation service right from its platform.

5. Yandex

yandex translate

Yandex is another top-tier online translator tool. It translates not only text, but also documents, images and websites, into 100 languages. For text translations, the tool can translate a generous 10,000 characters at once. Type or speak your source text, or enter it using Yandex’s onscreen keyboard. From your inputs, Yandex can autosuggest the next word and even correct your spelling.

As for image translations, upload your image to Yandex and the tool will detect the text in it. It’ll then replace the image’s text with its translations, so you can view the translated text within the image itself. You won’t be able to copy/paste images from the Internet, though – Yandex’s image translator works only with uploaded files.

However, website translation is quick and easy. Paste a web page URL into Yandex and the tool will load the web page with its text translated. This makes Yandex useful for not only getting quick translations, but also learning new languages based on the foreign language content you encounter online.

How does Weglot stack up against online paragraph translators?

weglot website translation solution

While online paragraph translators can be convenient for getting translating short sentences and paragraphs for free, you have very little control over the translations. What you see is what you get, and you’d have to manually edit your translations if you prefer your source text to be translated differently.

In addition, if you’re looking to translate dozens of web pages into multiple languages, you clearly can’t be using an online paragraph translator tool to translate your content, paragraph by paragraph. That’s too time-consuming a process, as you’ll see in our example later.

Instead, a more sophisticated translation solution is needed and you won’t find a better one than Weglot. Here’s why:

Highly accurate website translations

Weglot is ideal for translating entire web pages or large portions of content in a website, and with a high degree of accuracy. It does so by providing a first layer of machine translation using four major translation providers. These are DeepL, Yandex, Google Translate and Bing Microsoft Translator – which, incidentally, are four of the most popular online paragraph translator tools we’ve outlined above. You’ll then get full editing rights over your translations. 

If you approach any professional translator or translation agency, chances are that they will also rely on these translation providers to get a rough translation before manually fine-tuning it for you. With Weglot, you can do just that on your own. 

You’ll be able to polish the initial language translation by inviting your external translator as a collaborator. Alternatively, you can order a professional translation directly via the Weglot dashboard.

Separately, if you want a particular expression to always be translated a certain way, use Weglot’s glossary function to create translation rules. With these rules, Weglot will translate your text exactly to your specifications. This saves you the hassle of locating and editing the translations yourself – which is what you might need to do if you aren’t satisfied with the translation provided by your online paragraph translator tool.

Translate your entire website with little human error

One problem with using an online paragraph translator tool to translate a website is that you’d need to manually copy and paste your website text into the translator tool, then copy and paste the translated text back into your website. This is doable for small translation jobs, but extremely tedious if you have hundreds of content chunks to be translated.

As an example, it takes around 15 seconds to copy a paragraph of text into a translator tool and paste its translation into a website. If your website has 1,000 paragraphs, translating your website in this way could take at least four hours. That’s four full hours that could have been better spent on other areas of your business!

Apart from this, you might also miss out on translating some text, such as menu items or meta descriptions. All these affect the quality of a user’s experience on your website if it appears to be only partially translated.

Weglot avoids this issue by translating your text directly on your website. You won’t have to worry about whether you’ve translated every single piece of content, or go through the torturous process of copying and pasting text back and forth. Instead, simply select the sections of your website to be translated, then sit back as Weglot translates them almost instantly.

Compatible with all major website platforms

Weglot is a highly versatile tool that works with all leading website platforms, such as WordPress, Shopify and Wix. It can be used to translate all types of websites – including ecommerce stores, which is a major benefit to online store owners looking to venture into cross border ecommerce.

What translation tool does your situation call for?

There are times when being able to quickly translate a short paragraph is essential, and online paragraph translator tools – such as those we’ve mentioned above – can get the job done. However, these tools may not be the best option for translating an entire website, where getting a professional and accurate result is crucial.

Weglot is a strong choice for translating web pages at scale no matter what type of website you operate. It provides high-quality translations, and at a more affordable cost than shelling out for a professional translator or translation agency to boot. You can try Weglot by signing up for a free trial here.

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