How to Translate in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Efficient Translation

how to translate in excel

Translating text in Excel is surprisingly simple. By using Excel’s built-in functions, you can convert text from one language to another quickly. This involves using the Google Translate API in combination with Excel formulas. Here’s a quick overview: first, enable Developer options. Then, create a VBA macro that calls the Google Translate service. Finally, use the macro to translate your text.

Step by Step Tutorial on how to translate in excel

Let’s dive deeper. By the end of these steps, you’ll be able to translate any text within your Excel sheets.

Step 1: Enable Developer Options

Enable the Developer options in Excel.

You need the Developer tab to access the VBA editor. Go to "File," click "Options," and then "Customize Ribbon." Check the Developer box.

Step 2: Open VBA Editor

Open the VBA editor by clicking on the Developer tab.

Once the Developer tab is enabled, click "Visual Basic" to open the VBA editor. This is where you will write your macro.

Step 3: Insert a New Module

Insert a new module in the VBA editor.

In the VBA editor, right-click on any of the available options under your workbook name, select "Insert," then "Module." This opens a blank module where you can write your VBA code.

Step 4: Write the VBA Code

Write the VBA code to access Google Translate.

Paste the following code into the module:

Function TranslateText(text As String, from_lang As String, to_lang As String) As String
    Dim xmlhttp As Object
    Dim url As String
    Set xmlhttp = CreateObject("MSXML2.XMLHTTP")
    url = "" & from_lang & "&tl=" & to_lang & "&dt=t&q=" & text
    xmlhttp.Open "GET", url, False
    TranslateText = Split(Split(xmlhttp.responseText, """")(2), """")(0)
End Function

This code accesses Google Translate and retrieves the translated text.

Step 5: Use the Function in Excel

Use the newly created function to translate text within your workbook.

In any cell, type =TranslateText(cell_with_text, "from_language", "to_language"). For example, =TranslateText(A1, "en", "es") will translate text from English to Spanish.

Step 6: Test Your Translation

Test your translation to ensure everything is working.

Place some text in a cell, use the TranslateText function, and check the output. Adjust the function parameters if needed.

After completing these steps, your Excel workbook will be able to translate text on the fly. The translated text will appear in the specified cells, making multilingual tasks a breeze.

Tips on how to translate in excel

  • Use Simple Phrases: Make sure the text you are translating is simple to avoid unnecessary errors.
  • Language Codes: Use the correct language codes, like ‘en’ for English and ‘es’ for Spanish.
  • Limit Text Length: Keep the text length short to prevent Google Translate API from failing.
  • Check Grammar: Always double-check the translation for grammatical accuracy.
  • Beware of Privacy: Don’t use sensitive information as the text goes through Google’s servers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enable Developer options in Excel?

Go to "File," click "Options," then "Customize Ribbon." Check the Developer box.

What is VBA?

VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. It’s a programming language used in Excel for creating macros and automations.

Can I translate entire sentences?

Yes, you can translate entire sentences, but ensure they are short for better accuracy.

Is there a limit to the text length?

There might be a limit based on Google Translate API restrictions. Keep texts concise to avoid issues.

Do I need an internet connection?

Yes, an internet connection is required as the translations are done via Google’s API.


  1. Enable Developer Options
  2. Open VBA Editor
  3. Insert a New Module
  4. Write the VBA Code
  5. Use the Function in Excel
  6. Test Your Translation


And there you have it! You’ve just learned how to translate in Excel. With these detailed steps, translating text in your spreadsheets should be a walk in the park. Remember, each of these steps is crucial—skip one, and you might find yourself back at square one.

Using Excel’s VBA functionality, coupled with Google Translate, opens a world of possibilities, especially for those working in international environments. From creating multilingual reports to communicating effectively with global teams, this skill can be a real game-changer.

Don’t stop here—explore more about VBA and other Excel features. The more you know, the more powerful your spreadsheets become. So, go ahead, try it out, and make your Excel workbooks as versatile as a Swiss Army knife!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy