With the advent of the Internet, it’s become common for people that speak different languages to converse on a regular basis, either for business or pleasure. Personally, I communicate with three different people that speak a language other than English on a regular basis. This means I am almost always on the lookout for better translation tools. QTranslate is a freeware program that let’s you search multiple different translation sites at one time, gather the results, and compare them to see which one is best.
Anyone who has used more than one site like BabelFish or Google Translate knows that for every site you submit a translation question to, you’ll get a different answer as to what the proper translation is or should be. For me, that means bouncing around from site to site for at least a few minutes before I have an idea and general consensus of the right translation, or even something close to it. With QTranslate, this becomes infinitely easier. You can translate anything from emails to webpages or text files of almost any file format.
Created by QuestSoft, the program offers two different versions to install. First, the ‘normal’ version, and also a ‘portable’ version. The difference is that the portable version will store all the relevant information for the program’s settings within the program folder itself, rather than in the usual /User/ folders. This is a nice nod from the developers to the laptop and netbook users of the program, and since those are possibly most likely to need a program like this, it makes sense.
Upon running the program, you’re offered a small window that features two main sections. The top section immediately shows some helpful hotkey information for the program and the bottom section is blank, awaiting input of the word or phrase you want to translate. Additionally, there are two drop down windows for auto-detecting or specifying what languages you want to translate to and from. For example, if you’re translating a phrase from English to Russian, you’d select English in the left box and Russian in the right box. The auto-detect feature is nice for when you have a copied block of text from a language that you don’t recognize or can’t positively identify. I found it to be fairly accurate most of the time.
In the bottom of the input section is a little button that looks like headphones and clicking on it will have the program read the text in the section aloud. This function requires that you have the proper TTS, or Text To Speech, package installed on Windows. Below that section is a listing of the different sites that QTranslate uses. You can either click the generic “translate” button in the middle of the window, which will translate the given text using the most recent site you’ve selected, or you can click one of the specific site buttons to switch to a different one. There’s even a virtual keyboard built in and it keeps a history of what you’ve recently translated, for handy repeat reference. It has a built in spell checker, an auto-complete feature that suggests finished words while you type, and a handy ‘help’ button that re-displays the hints in the top section any time you need them.
Now, all of that is the main window. The program is meant to be used with websites and any other program that allows text selection. The most handy function of the program is that once it is running, you can select any line or block of text, and press the hotkey combo of Ctrl+Q to instantly translate that text using the current settings of the main window. The program supports the following translation services and any of the languages those services can handle. That’s nearly everything out there from Albanian to Yiddish and all the stuff between.
- Google Translate (translate.Google.com);
- Microsoft Translator (Microsoft translator.com);
- Prompt Mobile (m.online-translator.com);
- SDL (www.freetranslation.com);
- Yahoo! Babel Fish (babelfish.yahoo.com)
This essentially turns your computer into the next best thing to a universal translation device. You’ll be able to translate almost any text in the blink of an eye, and you can now impress all kinds of people with your worldly skills in communication. A mobile app would be nice, but nothing has been announced in regards to developing one in the future as yet.
Until next time, my friends!
Compatibility: Windows 7/Vista/XP/2008 Server/2003 Server operating systems. Version 2.3.1 Tested on Windows 32-Bit Home Premium and Chrome (5.0+)
Available here (approx 331K).