Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am experiencing issues with Google Spreadsheet.

The thing is that me and my colleagues are using one spreadsheet as a table for translations, there is a column for English and then German and French and we have specific piece of text in each row for translation.

The thing is that we need to translate pieces of text with HTML tags like

<span style="color:#AC0000">Translate <strong>this</strong> please</span>

There are actually more HTML tags than that and my colleagues are not really "HTML compatible" so my question is if there is some possibility to hide those html tags for them and make them only visible to me or well any method that would make it easier. Of course there is a possibility to copy those pieces of text without HTML formatting and then just format the final translation again, but it would take an awful lot of time.

I am kindly open to all suggestions and thank you in advance!

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Either you show them the HTML-formatted text to translate, or you show them a "cleaned up" version where the tags are removed. The problem is, if you are using HTML formatting (like <strong>), how are you going to be sure where that goes in the translated product? An automated process would be prone to errors, and a manual process would be very time consuming.

Because of the way languages work, it is impossible to know for sure, from a syntactic standpoint, when words have been added or subtracted in the finished product, and where your formatting should now go. Translation needs to be fluent, and entire sections of a sentence can sometimes be cut out or modified completely to make sure that you get "flow" in the language. Getting a computer to understand what word is now another word, and format it correctly, is no easy task.

My advice is that you sit down with these "non-compatible" translators and teach them some basic HTML. It is not that hard, and it is by far the simplest solution to your problem.

One tip that I think you might appreciate in this context is syntax highlighting. If you copy/paste the entire column into a program like Notepad++ (don't forget to save as an HTML file to get the correct coloring), you could probably translate each line, remove the old line, and when the whole document is done, simply copy paste it back into the spreadsheet (every line should become a new row, so it should fit). Syntax highlighting will make it easy to see what is "actual text" and what is HTML markup.

There might be other ways to solve this specifically, but syntax highlighting + basic education regarding HTML tags is the solution here.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.