This is a helpful tutorial that sets up a Google Sheets document to automatically translate English to Chinese. Language options include Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Pinyin. Sadly there’s no option for Zhuyin yet. Keep in mind the translation is only as accurate as Google Translate. I find Google translate Chinese to have improved greatly over the last couple of years.
Copy the translation document
You can use the Google Spreadsheet I created and edit it with your own words and phrases. Please make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet in your Google Drive so that you will have editing capabilities.
Create your own translation document from scratch
Step 1: Create Google Spreadsheet
Go to Google Drive and open a new Google Sheet. Set up your column headers for English and Chinese. My example shows English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Pinyin.
Step 2: Fill in English
In column 1, fill in the words and phrases you want to translate to Chinese.
Step 3: Enter the Translate Formula
In column 2, enter the formula to translate to Traditional Chinese =GOOGLETRANSLATE(A2, “en”, “zh-tw”).
a2 is the cell you want to translate. “en” is the source language, “zw-tw” is the language code for Traditional Chinese. The code for Simplified Chinese is “zh-cn”.
In column 3, enter the formula to translate to Simplified Chinese =GOOGLETRANSLATE(A2, “en”, “zh-cn”).
Step 4: Add Pinyin API
For Pinyin, you will need to add the Mandarin Cantonese API.
- From the menu, click on Add-ons and select Get add-ons from the drop-down menu
- In the search bar type in “Mandarin Cantonese API and click on the image
- In the next window click Install
- In the pop-up click Continue
- Select your Google account
- An alert message will appear. Click on Advanced and then click on Go to Mandarin Cantonese Tools
- In the next window click on Allow
- Once complete, close the installer window
- From the menu, click on Add-ons and select Mandarin Cantonese Tools and click on Use in this spreadsheet
Step 5: Enter the Formula for Pinyin
Follow the same instructions in step 2, but use the language code for Pinyin
. C2 stands for the column of the source text.
Step 6: Copy and Past the Formula
Select the translated cell. Right click and select copy. Highlight the other empty cells. Right click, select Paste Special, click on Paste Formula Only. This will copy the translation formula into the other cells.
If you get an error, refresh the document. The API isn’t perfect but it’s a great resource nonetheless. With Google Translate you still need to double check the translations. It’s not 100% accurate but I’ve found Google Translate to be quite good.