Many times when you’re traveling with your Mac, you’ll find the need to quickly translate a small amount of text. For a long time, I simply had Google Translate open in a web browser tab and would perform the translations there. In recent times, I’ve found a few other solutions that I prefer.
Google Translate App
The first solution involves creating a Google Translate app.
Using the free Fluid software, you can create your own stand-alone Google Translate Mac App as I described in a post on how to make your own Mac travel app.
The advantage of creating a Google Translate app is that it has all of the power of the Google Translate website without being subject to any of the restrictions that Google places on third-party developers that use its translation service. (For example, Google limits the amount of data third-party developers can send to it for translation.) You can also open and close the app with just a few keystrokes without the need to find the Google Translate tab open in your browser.
I use the Google Translate app on my Mac all of the time.
iTranslate Mac App
The second Mac translation solution I’ve been using comes from iTranslate.
iTranslate created Mac App that is a small utility that sits in your Mac status bar. When you want to perform a quick translation, you click on the iTranslate icon and drop the foreign language text into the app. iTranslate will quickly translate your text between around 90 language pairs. (You’ll still need an Internet connection, though.)
While the iTranslate utility isn’t perfect, it is a utility I’ve found to be incredibly useful. The major advantage of the iTranslate Mac App is there’s no need to open a web page or an app. With iTranslate on your Mac you can quickly perform language translations without disrupting your work flow.
Apart from offering the choice of a few dozen language pairs, there’s not much to the iTranslate app. There’s a small anchor button that allows you to keep the iTranslate utility as the uppermost window. I’ve found that perfect, for example, for translating messages from a text chat. Also, for some languages you can also get audio translation.
In terms of shortcomings, iTranslate is only good for a paragraph or two of text at most. (That’s because Google limits the amount of text that can be sent to it for translation.) Also, as with any translation service, it is not going to give you a perfect translation every time. For what it does do though, I’ve found it to be a useful addition to my work flow.
iTranslate is currently free in the Mac App store, so it is well worth trying to see if it meets you needs.
iTranslate for Mac (free) – Download here.