Translating Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 13, 2014)


Joan would like to use the Word 2010 translation feature but she's not having much success. It doesn't appear on the screen in the new language (Spanish). She wonders if there is a special trick to using this feature.

There is no special trick, but there are things you need to make sure are in place in order for the translation tool to work correctly.

First, you need to understand that all translation occurs within the Research pane; it is not done in "real time" as you type. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon and clicking Research in the Proofing group. Word displays the Research pane at the right side of your document.
  2. Within the Research pane, use the drop-down list to choose Translation. The display within the Research pane is modified to reflect your choice.
  3. Using the "From" and "To" drop-down lists (visible after step 2), specify the languages you want to translate from and to.
  4. Within the text of your document, select the word phrase you want to translate.
  5. Hold down the Alt key as you click on the selected word or phrase. This copies the selection to the Search For box in the Research pane, and the translation of that word or phrase is shown in the pane.

The translation is done by Word sending your word or phrase over the Internet to a translation service (as of now it is and then receiving back and displaying the translation. The quality of the translation depends on a lot of factors, but you would be wise to never blindly trust the translation done by a computer program. (Think of how transliterated instructions for electronic devices—such as a VCR—look to you. That's how a machine translation will probably look to a native reader.)

You may also benefit by reading through this article about translation at one of Microsoft's sites:

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6706) applies to Microsoft Word 2010.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 9 - 4?

2015-03-30 09:54:49

Tom Redd

I have found a simple way to do research on any given item in a document. if I hold the Alt key and left click on any word, I get a research pane on the right side of my screen that shows me lots of places to find more information about the word. There are several Dictionaries and other resources that let me quickly discover meanings and examples of words. I don't have to be signed in to any specific account to use this service and that is an asset.

2013-02-09 11:27:13

Peter Atherton


This is I think MS first step in this field and they will not be as comprehensive as Google who have been at it for quite a while. They will offer more options over time.

I seem to remember that the test was to translate the text and then retranslate it back into the original language to test the results. Is this no longer neceesary.

2013-02-09 09:12:44

Surendera M. Bhanot

I can, however, do it by using Google Translate. It is very easy and users' friendly.

2013-02-09 09:10:57

Surendera M. Bhanot

I want to translate in Indian Language. No Indian Language appear in the 'To" drop-down list. For example, I wasnt to tranlate from English (US) into 'Hindi',, how to go about it?

2013-02-09 04:30:27

David F

Extremely important point made by Allen which cannot be over emphasised -
Machine translation tools are useful for a broad view of of a foreign language document and really shouldn't be used for translating native language files to a foreign language.

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