Google Is Your Best Translator Tool (Here’s Why)

There are so many translator tools available in today’s digital era.

While some may consider it contradictory to list Google as part of such tools, it is surely because of bad experiences they must have had with Google’s automatic translation service. However, for the purpose of this article, I’ll be dealing with Google Search, because it is an essential component of our core processes as translators – i.e. searching for reliable information and finding it in less time.

Google Search is the number 1 search engine. We use it almost instinctively when searching for anything online. And it is no coincidence it is said to perform 2.3 million searches per second, that is about 100 billion searches per month and 2 trillion searches processed yearly.

These figures illustrate how Google Search has become part of our daily routine, either as mere Internet users or as professional translators/interpreters (advanced Internet users). Moreover, with the advent of the mobile revolution, searching for information has become even easier. Even on the move, we can still perform quick searches on our mobile devices.

Targeted Search Results

Have you ever noticed Google Search’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature? It redirects you to a page considered the most relevant for your search query term(s). This option is available either from Google Search’s home page or within the predictive input text that appears when you type a portion of your search term(s).

For instance, consider this illustration:



Instead of hitting the Enter/Go button, you can click this to access a page which is trusted by Google for listing interpreting jobs.

As far as country-specific domains are concerned, they vary depending on where you live. Usually, Google services automatically detect your location via your IP address and redirect you to a “localised version” with supposedly more pertinent content. But, if you are not satisfied with the results obtained, you may broaden the scope by using the option.


The All in One Solution?

Among other things, you can use Google Search to check the weather in your location, get a live preview of currency exchange rates, define a word, convert several units (temperatures, lengths, volumes, etc.).

Let us try by ourselves and see if this really works.

In the Google search box, type weather in your city (e.g. weather in paris as illustrated below) and hit enter. You will have a live update of the weather in the desired location, plus a one-week forecast.



If you are a US citizen moving to Europe, you might need to know the right volume of fuel your car will be consuming. It may be frustrating to realize people rather measure such volumes in liters. Don’t panic, just input number liters in gallons (e.g. 145 liters in gallons) and voilà!



The same is true for other unit conversion, including distance (mile-to-kilometer conversion).

[bctt tweet=”#Google: An all-in-1 solution for online search, unit conversion, calculations and more.” username=”cdlancer”]

From the previous search, you can change units to be converted. Just click the “volume” dropdown list to see other units available (see picture below).



Go on now, and try it for yourself. Have fun converting among units and see how easy it is.

Google Search Operators

Search operators are special ways of inputting search terms so as to return targeted results. These are similar to filters you can set to tell Google Search the type of results you need.

Here are some of the most popular search operators, with corresponding examples.

Search Operator Description Example
* Placeholder for any unknown, missing or wildcat terms as * as
Excludes a site or a category from your search results jaguar -car


.. Defines a range to search within. May also be used to indicate the upper/lower threshold of a range Cars $1000..$2000

Laptops ..€1000

“” Return results from pages with the exact search word/phrase appearing in the same order “content marketing tactics”
site: Return results from a specific website or domain tech specs
related: Find websites similar to the one specified in the search query
OR Find sites containing one of the search terms entered. Note that OR is written in caps. cars OR motorbikes
AND Find sites containing both search terms entered. Note that AND is written in caps. cables AND instructions
info: Provides information about a given website, including the cached version, related sites and backlinks.
cache: Access a cached version of a website (i.e. how it looked like the last time Google crawled it). This operator is helpful to access a site that is unavailable for maintenance purpose.
define: Provides a definition of the search term. define:o-ring
filetype: Return results containing only the specified file format. filetype:pdf free course
allintitle: Restrict results to websites containing search terms in their page titles. allintitle: resources for translators
allintext: Restrict results to websites containing search terms in their body copy. allintext:advanced marketing tips

Besides, keep in mind the following:

  • When typing your search query terms, capitalization doesn’t matter (i.e. New York MLS and new York mls will return the same results).
  • Target specific key terms for better search results (search for used car parts instead of typing old components from cars with 2 or more owners).
  • Consider the Voice search option, especially when using a mobile device (you may need to fine tune your device’s voice recognition settings).
  • For exact results, place your search terms in quotation marks (“”).
  • Review your results in terms of numbers (how popular are search terms as formulated by you?) and authority of sources (how relevant are websites containing results? Are they primary sources?).
  • Define the search category in advance and go to specific sections (Books, Images, News, etc.) of Google Search for better results.
  • Have fun performing your searches. If not satisfied, try again until you find what you need/expect.

All in all, it should be noted that you are ultimately responsible for the quality and suitability of results you choose.

Basically, search engines return indexed pages that supposedly match search query terms you enter. But always cross-check results from two or more authoritative sources to ensure a minimum of suitability to your purposes.

Over to You Now

There must be other tricks that you use to make Google search one of your best translation tools. I am eager to discover them. Feel free to share in the comments.

how to search onlineThis article is a premium extract from my book, Search It, Find It: The Translator’s Minimalist Guide to Online Search. To buy a copy from Amazon, click here.

6 Most Important Ingredients of Freelance Success

It takes more than free time to succeed at freelancing.

People usually say that freelancers enjoy more flexible schedules than regular employees working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sure, as a freelancer, you can work from the comfort of your bed or sofa. You set your own working hours and freely plan your life. But it is important to stress that free time alone won’t make you a successful freelancer. Below are 6 important ingredients of freelance success worth considering.

1. Expertise

As a freelancer, you are paid to provide services external expertise. And “expertise” goes far beyond a mere diploma, because a diploma in Literature does not automatically make you a good creative writer. The same applies to other freelance fields, including web design, translation, programming, etc. Being an expert is a key advantage over the competition. So, in a drive to achieve – and maintain – that status, make sure you seize any continuous professional development (CPD) opportunity coming your way: seminars, webinars, online courses, books/ebooks, etc. Attend industry events (conferences, trade fairs, book launches, etc.), meet like-minded people, connect and exchange experience (as well as business cards). If you are a translator, you may be interested in the Open Translation Day. Otherwise, just search on Google.

2. Planning

Every business needs a plan. Freelancing is no exception. Stop calling yourself a “Freelance X”.You run a small business and provide great service that help others succeed. So, make sure you reflect on how you will deliver these awesome solutions, crush the competition and stand out as the go-to professional. Draft a business plan and review/adapt it on a regular basis to ensure you are still on track. By so doing, always anticipate where you want your business to be in the next 5/10/20 years.

3. Resources

I know you have been – at least once – in a situation where you wished you had some tools/resources/knowledge in order to complete a specific task. If you had the requested/desired tool/resource, I guess you would have worked faster/smarter. In fact, in every field, there are must-use tools which complement your expertise and boost your productivity. Since you are your own boss – responsible for both your success and failure – take necessary measures to be on the safe side: power banks, UPSs, online backups, external hard drives, etc. To learn more and get posted on the freelancer’s resources, you might want to learn from these 10 established freelancing sites or consider this list of 100 resources for freelancers and entrepreneurs.

4. Visibility

Here is a simple test: type your name in Google and hit the Search button. Take a few minutes to examine what shows up: number of results, main sources, etc. Now you may see how popular visible you are in the Internet universe. The worldwide Web has made it possible to reach thousands/millions of people from all over the world. To leverage the power of the Internet and use it effectively, you need a proven visibility plan. For a detailed process, check out this award-winning article that shows you how to gain more visibility in 6 simple steps.

5. Criticism

As controversial as this may seem, constructive criticism is a key ingredient of freelance success. Whenever you complete a project, kindly request a feedback. This will help you humbly acknowledge your weaknesses (as part of your SWOT analysis) and look for ways to improve. You surely know that “No human endeavor is perfect”, but always make it a principle to provide a better experience to your clients, colleagues and partners, based on their criticism. Mark McGuinness tells us how to handle criticism and rejection as freelancers. But, you should distinguish between constructive feedback and personally-targeted & condescending criticism (“Your whole work is crap”, “Are you really a professional?” “What kind of producer/translator/designer are you?”). The latter is only useful as it helps you know people you should stop working with.

6. Patience

The saying goes that “Nothing good comes easy”. Freelancing is no exception. You have to be patient in order to achieve long-term freelancing success. Keep on working hard and make sure every project is an occasion to show how great you are.

Do you think there are other ingredients that make up a good success sauce? Feel free to let me (and other freelancers) know in the comments.