How to translate a spreadsheet hassle-free – Google Sheets or Excel

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Translating a spreadsheet such as a Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel file may seem complex at first. Even simply editing a spreadsheet can be daunting—often with many small, hard-to-read cells that contain carefully organized information, sometimes with formulas that a single misplaced character can mess up.

Spreadsheets also often have technical language that needs precise translation, as well as numerical content and financial records that different countries will display in various formats. Because of the importance of spreadsheets for various business operational and financial processes, a translation mistake can be costly in terms of a company’s resources and reputation.

But not to worry! You don’t have to painstakingly translate word for word, cell by cell, pasting in your translated text from another program. With Smartcat, you can automate and streamline the translation process effortlessly. We’ll guide you through how to translate a spreadsheet using Smartcat, combining AI efficiency and human expertise for a fast, accurate and cost-effective translation of Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or any other spreadsheet format.

How to translate spreadsheets with Smartcat

Smartcat offers two efficient ways to translate spreadsheets, depending on the source platform of the spreadsheets. Seamlessly integrate Smartcat with Google Sheets, enabling real-time collaboration and instant syncing of translations. This integration streamlines the translation process, reducing manual work and ensuring accuracy and efficiency.

Alternatively, upload Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet file types directly to Smartcat, leveraging its powerful AI translation features and collaborative editing tools.

Whether integrating with Google Sheets or uploading other spreadsheets, Smartcat’s AI translation platform, which includes Smartcat Editor for comprehensive review and editing, enables fast and easy language localization for global audiences. Let’s go through each method step by step.

Method 1: Translate Google Sheets with Smartcat’s integration

If you’re using Google Sheets, Smartcat’s plugin integrates your translation workflows directly into Google Sheets — quick, simple and convenient! Here’s how it works:

Set up integration with Google Sheets

First you’ll need a Smartcat account and a Google account, so make sure to register with both if you haven’t already.

To set up the integration, simply download the Smartcat for Google Sheets extension from the Google Workspace Marketplace. This extension app allows access to Smartcat functions in Google Sheets—you’ll see the Smartcat icon displayed in a sidebar on the right of your spreadsheets.

Use Smartcat AI translation in Google Sheets

Now that you have your credentials and extension, you can make use of Smartcat in Google Sheets by following these steps:

  1. Select the Smartcat icon on the right of your spreadsheet to open the integration.

  2. Sign in with your account credentials to authorize Smartcat’s access to Google Sheets and then select Continue to Google Sheets.

  3. Configure your Google Sheet for translation by selecting the source language, specifying the first row number to be translated, mapping the columns to corresponding languages (e.g., row C for Spanish, D for Chinese, etc.), and saving each language setting at the bottom of the sidebar.

  4. Click Translate Automatically in the Smartcat extension. Smartcat AI will then fill the designated empty columns in your spreadsheet with the translated text.

When using this method, Smartcat will auto-select the best AI translation tool for your content and use translation memory to remember your previous translations and preferences, ensuring consistency and high quality across all your projects. The integration will also recognize when changes are made to the original content and update the translations accordingly.

How to set up a project with AI-human workflows for Google Sheets

Automatic translation in Google Sheets using only the plugin is fast, accurate, and convenient. However, for some projects, you might prefer to collaborate with human editors or local experts for that extra finishing touch. This is perfect for when you want multiple sheets, each in a different language, and check them with language experts. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Smartcat using the integration button on the sidebar and select Send to Smartcat. Smartcat will then create a new project with a separate spreadsheet for each target language that you have configured in the plugin.

  2. Select Open Smartcat Project in the plugin to view your spreadsheets in Smartcat. Here you can adjust settings such as workflow, languages, and other project-specific details. Smartcat offers various workflow options, but we recommend the AI+editing workflow for efficient and high-quality translations. This workflow combines AI translation with human editing, ensuring accuracy while minimizing turnaround time.

  3. Translate with AI to generate a high-quality automatic translation in seconds.

  4. Assign human editors to check and refine the AI-generated translation in Smartcat Editor. If you don’t have the required language experts on your team, Smartcat Marketplace sources an expert linguistic reviewer. It typically takes less than five minutes to receive a task invitation response from a human reviewer.

  5. When you’re happy with your translation, open the Smartcat integration in Google Sheets and select Get from Smartcat. This will upload all the translated spreadsheets into Google Sheets for you.

Method 2: Upload Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet to translate using Smartcat

Even if you don’t use Google Sheets, you can still access efficient, high-quality translation for your spreadsheets with Smartcat’s user-friendly interface and powerful features. This method works for Microsoft Excel (.xls) and other spreadsheet file formats.

  1. Register or sign in to Smartcat:

This gives you access to the Smartcat platform.

  1. Create a project:

Set up project details, languages, and instructions. Manage collaborative projects seamlessly with in-house or freelance experts.

  1. Choose your workflow:

AI translation, manual translation, or AI+editing to combine AI speed with human expertise for optimal results.

  1. Upload your files:

Upload your spreadsheet(s), along with any reference files such as a glossary or localization documentation for translators.

  1. Translate with AI:

Generate initial translations quickly with Smartcat's AI-powered feature. Review and refine translations for linguistic accuracy.

  1. Review in Smartcat Editor:

Fine-tune translations, correct inaccuracies, monitor deadlines, and ensure consistency. The Smartcat Editor provides intuitive tools for efficient editing and an intuitive interface for collaboration and project management.

  1. Download/Export:

Download the finalized translated spreadsheet in your preferred format.

Why setting up an integration to translate spreadsheets makes all the difference

Using an integration to translate spreadsheets offers numerous advantages, including:

  • Less manual work: Integrating Smartcat with Google Sheets automates the translation process, eliminating the need for manual copying and pasting of content.

  • Automation: With real-time syncing between Smartcat and Google Sheets, translations are updated automatically, reducing human intervention and streamlining workflow.

  • Fewer mistakes: By minimizing manual tasks, integration reduces the risk of human error, ensuring accuracy and consistency in translations.

  • Faster time-to-market/launch: Automation and real-time syncing accelerate the translation process, enabling faster turnaround times and quicker deployment of localized content.

  • Better organization of translation assets: Integration centralizes translation assets within Smartcat, providing a single platform for project management, collaboration, and asset storage. This improves organization and accessibility, making it easier to monitor the project’s progress, keep a record of changes, and know where everything is.

Why translate spreadsheets?

Translation is essential for breaking language barriers and reaching new markets. With over 80 file types supported, including Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, Smartcat enables businesses to enhance brand relevance and drive growth worldwide.

Although the need to translate text-heavy documents like marketing material, guides, or presentations may be obvious, it’s essential not to neglect the humble spreadsheet. Whether it’s handling accounts or inventories in different countries, payroll for international teams, logistics for global supply chains, or simply presenting information to customers and clients who speak a different language, accurate spreadsheet translation is valuable to any business with operations in additional languages.

Spreadsheets also often form part of larger documents, such as whitepapers, brochures, or presentations. In these cases, show your audience how important they are to your organization by translating the spreadsheet to match the document language instead of pasting the original.

Spreadsheet translation best practices

Spreadsheets often contain accounts, metrics, and other important units. When translating spreadsheets, ensuring that these are localized to the target market is crucial for accuracy and relevance. Here are three top tips for optimal spreadsheet translation:

Localize numeration and dating

In many countries, numeration conventions vary, requiring careful localization to avoid confusion. For example:

  • In the United States, the convention for large numbers uses commas to separate thousands, millions, etc. (e.g., 1,000,000). Dates follow the MM/DD/YYYY format.

  • In some European countries like Germany and France, periods are used instead of commas for the same purpose (e.g., 1.000.000). Dates follow the DD/MM/YYYY format.

Check currency conventions

The placement of the currency symbol (such as $, €, £, or ¥) in relation to the numeric value can vary depending on the country.

In some countries, the currency symbol is placed before the number. For example:

  • $10 (United States Dollar)

  • €20 (Euro)

  • £50 (British Pound Sterling)

  • ¥1000 (Japanese Yen)

Some countries place the currency symbol after the number. For example:

  • 10€ (euro in some countries such as Spain)

  • 50£ (Egyptian Pound)

  • 1000¥ (Chinese Yuan)

As you can see, a mistake in currency symbol placement can drastically change the meaning and value being represented in the spreadsheet. When dealing with unfamiliar currency, we recommend inviting local experts to check the spreadsheets.

Adapt units of measurement

Units of measurement can also differ between countries, necessitating localization to align with the target market. For instance:

  • The United States predominantly uses imperial units (e.g., inches, feet, pounds).

  • In most other countries, metric units are prevalent (e.g., centimeters, meters, kilograms).

By localizing numeration and units of measurement according to the conventions of the target market, businesses can ensure that their spreadsheets are accurate, easy to understand, and culturally relevant to their audience.

Enterprise-grade spreadsheet translation with Smartcat AI-human workflows

Spreadsheet translation needn’t be difficult or time-consuming. And with Smartcat AI, there is no longer a need to trade cost or time for quality. Smartcat translation for Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel positions your organization to achieve ultra-fast, high-quality, cost-efficient spreadsheet translation into any language.

Upgrade your spreadsheet translation workflow with Smartcat AI to leverage unprecedented efficiency gains