I work for a company with global offices. Many of my colleagues speak German as their primary language. We often need to translate words and documentation between languages. Google translate is still not a substitute for a professional translation, but it is helpful. I find myself cutting and pasting words and phrases to it all the time.

Today I decided that I should automate the task.

The Automator application on macOS allows for the creation of “services” that run automation from any app. I created an automation that takes selected text as an input and then sends that text to Google Translate directly. This saves several steps.

Automator Workflow

First I created a new “Quick Action” within Automator. Then from the “Utilities” Library I added an action to “Run Applescript”. The script takes the selected text as an input. I create a variable called “site” that uses the input parameter to properly format the Google Translate URL. Translating between other languages is as easy as updating the letters following ?sl= and &tl=. For example, German to English is ?sl=de&tl=en while English to German is ?sl=en&tl=en.

After saving and installing the workflow should be available anywhere in the system by selecting some text, then right clicking and opening the “Services” context menu. A new Safari window will open to with your word already translated.