I manage all the social media comments and customer feedback for my company and sometimes people leave responses in languages other than English. I do not read or speak any other languages, so I’m stuck. How can I translate them so I can easily respond?
It may sound a bit trite, but the world really has become a smaller place with the advent of the global Internet. One feature it’s helped accelerate is language translation, a problem that used to be unimaginably difficult for computers but now can be done with devices that can fit in your pocket. This means that while the translation might not be good enough to adapt a novel into every known language smoothly, it’s good enough for social media comments and responses. And what better, more respectful approach than to respond in the language they posted?
Shortcuts: YouTube in Spanish | Google Translate FTW | Edge Translation | Chrome Translation
Even better is that modern operating systems have these features integrated into the OS and browsers offer the same, with the ability to translate entire pages or just a single sentence in the middle of other content. I have a popular YouTube channel – AskDaveTaylor – and I occasionally get comments in other languages too. I like to respond in the same language, though I really don’t speak dozens of ’em fluently. The Web is my friend in this regard! Here’s how I approach the problem…
YOUTUBE USER COMMENT IN SPANISH
Perusing the comments on my YouTube channel, I came across this:
The second comment is in English, as is my original video review of the slick Sangean MMR-99 weather radio, but the first comment is in Spanish. Did Joel say something nice? Do I need to respond?
GOOGLE TRANSLATE TO THE RESCUE
One way to find out is to use Google Translate, which has other benefits, as you’ll see in a moment. It’s a simple matter of cut and paste:
Ah, that’s a nice comment. Thanks, JG!
Since I now know that the original language was Spanish (it’s not always easy to tell, particularly if it’s an Asian language) I can compose a response by reversing the translation languages and typing in my own response in English:
Notice the cursor hovering over the two rectangles icon on the lower left. Click on it and the translated response is ready to paste into YouTube as a response to the original comment. That’s the easiest way to respond to someone on social media even when you don’t speak their language.
But is it the easiest way to read their message?
BUILT IN TRANSLATION: MICROSOFT EDGE
I’m going to look at two of the most popular browsers to highlight how they can help out with this translation task too. Let’s start with Microsoft Edge. If I highlight the Spanish comment and then right click on the passage, notice what appears in the pop-up menu:
Lots of choices, but the highlighted one is “Translate Selection to English“. This is a bit trippy, however, because it replaces the Spanish text with the same comment in English:
A bit disconcerting, but still quite helpful as a built-in tool.
Worth noticing is that once you use this tool, the page address bar on the very top of the window gets a new icon that denotes the page now includes translated text:
Click on “Show Original” and you can get back to the original content on the page.
BUILT IN TRANSLATION: GOOGLE CHROME
Chrome has the very same capability, and if you go to a page that has primarily text in another language than your default, it can even pop up a prompt to translate the entire page:
Prompt? Well, yeah. Click on “English” and it’ll translate everything on the page automatically.
Chrome also has the built-in highlighted passage translation feature off the context menu too:
All in all, a lot of ways to figure out what someone else is saying in social media and respond in kind, as desired, with a little help from Google Translate. Yo diría que esta es una característica maravillosa que realmente nos ayuda a comunicarnos con todos, ¡sin importar el idioma!
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