Automatically translate English to Chinese with Google Sheets

Google Sheets automatically translate english to chinese

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.

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.

Google Sheets translate to Chinese

Step 2: Fill in English

In column 1, fill in the words and phrases you want to translate to Chinese.

Google Sheets translate to Chinese English phrases

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”).

Google Sheets translate to Chinese formulas

Step 4: Add Pinyin API

For Pinyin you will need to add the Mandarin Cantonese API.

  1. From the menu, click on Add-ons and select Get add-ons from the drop down menu
  2. In the search bar type in “Mandarin Cantonese API and click on the image
  3. In the next window click Install
  4. In the pop up click Continue
  5. Select your Google account
  6. An alert message will appear. Click on Advanced and then click on Go to Mandarin Cantonese Tools
  7. In the next window click on Allow
  8. Once complete, close the installer window
  9. From the menu, click on Add-ons and select Mandarin Cantonese Tools and click on Use in this spreadsheet

Google Sheets translate to Chinese Mandarin Cantonese API

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.

Google Sheets translate to Chinese Pinyin formula

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.

Google Sheets translate to Chinese copy and past formulas

Notes

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.

Google Sheets translate to Chinese spreadsheet

As an alternative you can use the Google Spreadsheet I created and edit 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.

One you have your list you and easily create flashcards in Quizlet.


Video Tutorial: How to set up Google Sheets to automatically translate English To Chinese


Hope you found my post helpful. Check out these other resources to learn Chinese.

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4 thoughts on “Automatically translate English to Chinese with Google Sheets

  1. Luc says:

    Hi,
    I’m the author of the Mandarin Cantonese add-on on google sheets. I recently added support for Pinyin on traditional characters (as opposed to only for Jyutping). I’m planning on developing more tools in this space. You can follow the latest on my patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/lucw

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