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Round-Up of 6 Browser Extensions for Instant Hover Translations

Anyone who’s used a Korean-owned computer in Korea (say, in an Internet cafe, school, or private abode) probably has noticed that a good number of them (particularly when using Internet Explorer) have a nifty little Translate feature that pops up a little Tool Tip bubble when you hover your mouse over a particular word.

Google Translate Tooltip

Usually these translate English words to Korean because that’s the default setting on that computer, but you can set it to whatever you want. This feature is powered by:

Google Toolbar

and is freely available for Internet Explorer (and previously Firefox, though that is no longer supported).

So then how can you get this nifty hover-over popup translator on a non-IE browser? This post will introduce and show various browser extensions you can install across multiple browsers to give you the same functionality.

But first, how to change your settings in IE!


1. Internet Explorer: Google Toolbar

To change your settings in Google Toolbar, find the wrench icon to the far-right of the Toolbar, near the top of the window:

Google Toolbar Preferences

Click it to get shown the Toolbar Options window. Go down to the fourth tab on the left that says “Tools” (or count down 4 if it’s in a language you don’t understand).

Toolbar translate optionsOn the right, click the “Edit” link next to the “Translate” checkbox and choose your desired translate-to language.

Google Toolbar language select(Additionally, if you need to change the language of the Toolbar itself, you can do that in the first “General” settings tab, in the first dropdown menu.)

Simple as that! Enjoy your new hover translate feature!

Google Toolbar hovered translation
Download Google Toolbar here.


2. Google Chrome: TransOver

Google Chrome is by far my favorite browser for its speed, simplicity, and design. Additionally, the following Chrome plugin is (in my opinion) the BEST hover-translation plugin available. Check it out:


Chrome Transover Plugin
Download TransOver here.


Firefox: Hover Translate, Wiktionary and Google Translate, and HyperTranslate

I know many people enjoy Firefox, and it also has many hover-translation plugins. Here they are:

3. Hover Translate

Firefox Hover Translate
Download Hover Translate here.
(Some users have complained that it takes too long for the translation to appear – seconds vs. milliseconds. It is slower than others.)

4. Wiktionary and Google Translate

Firefox Wiktionary Translate
Download Wiktionary and Google Translate here.
(This one is the box with icons.)

5. HyperTranslate

Hyper Translate Firefox
Download HyperTranslate for Firefox here.
(The only issue with this translator is that it’s not entirely a hover-translator. You actually have to highlight your desired text, then click a certain key (determined in the Settings) in order to get your popup to appear. In my case, I chose CTRL as my “translation button.”)


5. Opera: HyperTranslate

Opera only really has one viable option – but it’s not bad. It’s the same HyperTranslate that Firefox has. Here is what the default settings look like:

Hyper Translate Opera
Download HyperTranslate for Opera here.
(This plugin has the same functionality as the one for Firefox, which means you’ll have to highlight a word, then click a certain key (determined in the Settings) in order to get the translation to popup.)


6. Safari: Franker (kind of – possibly cooler)

Safari doesn’t actually have any extensions that will popup a translation of a single word or phrase on hover. However, there is one extension called Franker that is able to do inline translation of your highlighted text. Here’s what that looks like:

Safari Franker Translation Extension
Download Franker here.
Your translation appears either before or after the selection (your choice) in parentheses and green. Here’s what it looks like when doing a full phrase:

Safari Franker phrase translation

By default, Franker is set to use Microsoft Translate because no API key is required for that (though it’s optional). However, if you want to use Google Translate in Franker, you’ll have to use a Google API key.

Default settings for Franker are:

  1. CTRL + F to translate highlighted text
  2. CTRL + ALT + F to translate the page (using the Google page translation method)
  3. CTRL + SHIFT + F to clear the translation (though I haven’t gotten that to work yet – so I usually just reload the page).

How will you use these great extensions? Reading news? Shopping? Online banking? Joining Membership sites?

P.S. If you still think Internet Explorer is cool (at least the way Koreans use it – stuck at version 6), let me point you to this graphic I designed  (in 2010) that indicates the type of technology you’re using with IE:

Update Your Browsers - 2010 Version

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