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Translation software recommendation for offline use?

I am aware that websites can be translated from many languages into English thanks to Google Translate. If I receive documentation via email that is in a language other than English, how straight forward is it to translate into English on my PC or Apple Mac? (indeed is Google Translate involved or is it strictly for websites)

Similarly if I receive documentation via the normal postal mail service (termed "snail mail" if I'm correct) which needs to be translated into English, what steps need to be taken for this documentation to be translated effectively & quickly on my PC or Apple Mac (I am aware of the term Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, and is this costly, or do free alternatives exist to carry out the translation process solely online? ).

  • @techie007: Is the process of translation achieved offline ?
    – Simon
    Dec 9, 2012 at 15:56
  • There must be people carrying out this procedure on a weekly if not daily basis ?
    – Simon
    Dec 9, 2012 at 16:02
  • @techie007: The post entitled Translation software recommendation for offline use? doesnt seem to answer my question ?
    – Simon
    Dec 9, 2012 at 16:05
  • If you're not looking for an off-line translator, the what exactly IS your question? What exactly are you trying to accomplish? What have you tried already? Where are you getting stuck? "How straight forward is it to translate" isn't really answerable as it depends on things like what software you're using, what you're trying to translate, etc. Dec 9, 2012 at 16:08
  • If I receive for example a word doc in french via email. How do I translate it? If i received for example a report in anothr language via the postal mail service how would i translate it? I am not looking for the names of software, but the process of carying out the translation
    – Simon
    Dec 9, 2012 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


1 - Although it can be installed as a widget on a website, Google Translate is not necessarily a tool meant for websites. Indeed, if you visit the Google Translate website, you will see two text boxes. On the leftmost you either type or paste previously copied text and it will automatically, on-the-fly, translate the text for you (you need to specify the languages of both source and destination by clicking on the appropriate option).

2 - In order to perform machine-based translation (that is, to have your computer -- Apple, PC or whatever -- to translate something for you), it is mandatory that the text is in digital format, represented as text (that is, taking a picture or scanning it won't count). The only possible ways to have a text going "into" your computer are by either typing it (here's your free alternative, unless you pay someone to type it for you), or else you can use OCR software to perform OCR on scanned images of the text.

Other possible option is to have someone send the text for you by eletronic means (email, chat, whatever), then you just copy (CTRL-C) the text, open your offline translation program (or user Google Translate online) and paste the text onto the software.

2b - It doesn't matter if the translation process happens online (that is, your computer is connected to the internet, the translation happens on a website such as Google Translate and is sent back to your computer), or offline (that is, your computer is or isn't connected to the internet, doesn't matter, and you have some translation software such as Babylon installed) -- In both cases, the previous statements remain true.

  • Thankyou so much for taking the time to explain the process - which is what I wanted. I never asked for a list of Software recommendations (so it is not a duplicated question), I wanted to know how to do the translation. I'm sure there are many other people on here who could have also explained - but were not really bothered. Once again thankyou
    – Simon
    Dec 9, 2012 at 19:30

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