Reading foreign language websites

We are planning trips for later this year. I’m reading websites in French and Spanish. My French is rusty and my Spanish is limited. Sometimes I’d like to magically translate the whole web page, or even better, the whole website, to my language.

At the risk of everyone telling me “Didn’t you already know that?”, here’s how: translate.google.com. You’ve probably used it. Two boxes; paste some text into the left box, select the language and it magically appears (not always perfectly) translated in the right box.

What isn’t obvious is that it can translate a whole website. Enter the URL of the site in the left box. Ask it to translate. All that happens is that the same URL appears in the right box. But it is in blue text, a link. Click it. Voil√†, you are still in Google Translate, but seeing a full translated website. You can move about the website and each page will come up translated.

It isn’t perfect; some pages won’t display properly, some whole websites may not work at all depending on how they are structured, but it does a surprisingly good job.