Translate Text

An application to translate text from one human language to another

Translate Text no longer works and will no longer be maintained.

Google have discontinued free access to their translation API, so Translate Text, which used it, will no longer work as of December 2011.

I recommend Translate, by Architechies, as a replacement. As I write this (2011-11-30), it is $3 on the Mac App Store.

Quick download


Translate Text is an application for Mac OS X that provides services you can use to translate short passages of text between different human languages.

Screenshot of the main window. The first element is a text view, wherein you enter the text you want to translate; next comes the from-language pop-up button, followed by the to-language pop-up button; and the final element is the text view for the result text. The very last thing in the window is an attribution line that reads “powered by Google Language Tools”, with a link to
Text shown: “An die Freude” (a.k.a. “Ode to Joy”) by Friedrich Schiller, from the Raptus Association for Music Appreciation's page for it, via the Wikipedia article.

The easiest way to translate text using Translate Text is by invoking one of its Services:

Screenshot of a browser window, with the contextual menu for some text open, and one of Translate Text's service menu items in the Services submenu highlighted.
Taken in OmniWeb.

The Services submenu only appears in the contextual menu on Snow Leopard. If you're still running Leopard, I recommend Nicholas Riley's ICeCoffEE, which adds that feature in that operating system.

On Snow Leopard, you'll need to turn on the translation services in your Keyboard preference pane (Services category, Text group), then log out and log back in. On Leopard, you'll need to log out and log back in. (Either way, if you know your way around a command line, you can use this command-line tool instead of logging out and back in.)

Translation is performed by Google's AJAX Language API. This means that translation requires a connection to the Internet to work, since the translation does not happen on your machine. It also means that the language selection is subject to that API's limitations, and that I cannot guarantee the app will always work (Google may withdraw or significantly change that API at any time).

Currently, you can only translate up to 500 characters at a time. This is a limitation required by Google.


Translate Text requires Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later. It will not work on any previous version of Mac OS X.

As noted above, it also requires an Internet connection.

The application, in a zip archive.
MD5 hash: fa502b6d48bb15e6effd1d0a2eecdf70
SHA-1 hash: 13f8d20290d494e7c7d9697ad3ffbe64bc993aff
Objective-C source code and an Xcode 3.1 project, in a bzip2ed tarball
MD5 hash: 04bddaf45246edafa9f35a9f3341735a
SHA-1 hash: 5632e1724a02926e872f1e25d8a21f0167bc316b

MD5 and SHA1 signatures were created using EasyHash.

Version history



Mercurial repository

If you want to contribute bug-fixes or enhancements to Translate Text, the easiest way to do that is to clone the Mercurial repository for Translate Text. To do this, type this command into a terminal:

hg clone Translate-Text

I provide Translate Text—the application, and its source code—under a three-clause BSD license. For more information, see the file named LICENSE.txt that comes with it. Additionally, Translate Text 1.0b2 and later include code written by other people; the licenses for these bits of code are included in the Credits section of Translate Text's About panel.

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