Versions of Word prior to 2010 had language features that enabled you to do some simple translating on the page. But Word 2010 opens up a whole new world for you if you often work with colleagues who use other languages. Now the translation tools are built seamlessly into the Ribbon, and you can choose from among a huge range of languages and translate words and phrases — or sections and whole documents — as you go.

1: Choose your language

The first step in translating your text is to choose the language you need to translate from — or to. You’ll find the Translate tool in the Language group on the Review tab. Click the tool and click Choose Translation Language. In the Translation Language Options dialog box (Figure A), click the Translate To arrow and choose the language you want the Mini Translator to translate to. In the lower portion of the dialog box, you can set you document translation languages using the Translate From and Translate To drop-down lists. Click OK to save your settings.

Figure A

Choose your language for both the Mini Translator tool and translations for selected text and entire documents in the Translation Language Options dialog box.

2: Let the Mini Translator help

Once you set the language you want to use with the Mini Translator tool, you can turn it on by clicking the Translate tool in the Language group of the Review tab and then clicking Mini Translator. When the Mini Translator is active, the tool will begin to fade in and offer you a translation whenever you point to a word or select a phrase in your document. If you want to translate the item, move the mouse toward the Mini Translator, and it will darken so that you can read the translation and work with the additional tools (Figure B). If you don’t want to translate the text, simply move the mouse pointer away from the Mini Translator and it just fades away.

Figure B

The Mini Translator tool offers a translation of selected text.

3: Try out the tools

When I’m not rushing to meet a deadline, I sometimes like to keep the Mini Translator on just because it’s fascinating to me to translate as I go, and I’m hoping to learn something. At the bottom of the Mini Translator, you’ll see a tray of six tools: Expand, Copy, Play, Stop, Help, and Update Services. Expand opens the research pane so that you can find out more about the word or phrase. Copy copies the translation to the clipboard so that you can paste it into the document. Play (my favorite tool) pronounces the translation out loud for you. Stop ends the play process. Help — as you might expect — displays help on translating. And Update Services searches online for new entries in the translation dictionary you use.

4: Translate just the section you need

The Mini Translator is great, but it’s not so handy for long blocks of text, because some of the translated text may appear outside the viewing area of the tool. When you have a long paragraph or a section you want to translate, use Translate Selected Text in the Translate list (in the Language group of the Review tab). Simply highlight the text you want to translate and click the tool. The Research pane opens, showing your translation in the text area. You can choose a different translation language, translate the entire document, or set translation options in the Research pane, too.

5: Translate the whole document

Depending on the type of content you’re translating, you may need to translate an entire document — and in that case, translating bit by bit with the Mini Translator or even translating sections in the Research pane is going to take a lot of time. It’s better to use the Translate Document tool in the Translate list. This option uses an online service to translate the document, according to the language settings you entered in the Translation Language Options dialog box (see # 1). The feature will warn you that sending the document in this way does make the file vulnerable — it’s not a secure transmission, and others may be able to see your file. If you’re not translating sensitive information, click Send and view the translation online. If you’d rather not take the risk, click Do Not Send and tough out the translation with your other Translation tools.

Katherine Murray is a technology writer and the author of more than 60 books on a variety of topics, ranging from small business technology to green computing to blogging to Microsoft Office 2010. Her most recent books include Microsoft Office 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), Microsoft Word 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), and Microsoft Word 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press, 2010). You can reach Katherine through her blog, BlogOffice or by emailing