How to Use Translation Formulas in Excel (The Most Complete Guide)

August 31, 2023 9.0K views

In today's interconnected world, the need to translate documents, data, and content across different languages has become crucial. The challenge lies in finding an efficient and cost-effective solution. This guide focuses on harnessing the power of Excel's translation formulas, allowing you to effortlessly convert text between languages directly within your spreadsheets.

What is the Translate Formula in Excel?

At the heart of Excel's language prowess lies the Excel Translate formula. This function is a game-changer for individuals and businesses dealing with multilingual content. By leveraging this function, you can bridge language gaps and cater to a diverse audience, making it an indispensable tool for language research, multinational businesses, and data aggregation.

The translation formula supports over 60 languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Here are some things to keep in mind when using the translation formula:

  • The text that you want to translate must be in a single cell.

  • The source and target languages must be valid languages.

  • The translation formula may not be accurate for all text.

If you need to translate more than one cell of text, you can use the Translate feature in the Review tab. This feature allows you to select multiple cells and then choose the language that you want to translate them to

Where to Find Translate Function in Excel?

Prepare to unravel the mystery as we guide you to the heart of this language-altering tool. When you seek the "Translate" function within Excel, look no further than the "Review" tab. This tab, strategically placed at the pinnacle of the Excel interface, houses the doorway to seamless language translation.

How to Translate Formula in Excel

In this section, we'll delve into the intricacies of formula translation, focusing on the process within the context of Excel and shedding light on best practices to ensure accurate and error-free formula migration.

Method 1: Translate Excel File Natively with Microsoft Translator

Step 1: Open the Excel spreadsheet that contains the formulas that you want to translate.

Step 2: Click on the Review tab.

Step 3: In the Language group, click on the Translate button.

Step 4: In the Translate dialog box, select the language that you want to translate the formulas to.

Step 5: Click on the Translate button.

The formulas in the selected cells will be translated to the language that you selected.



  • The Translate feature does not actually change the formulas in the cells. It only changes the text that is displayed in the cells. If you want to actually change the formulas to a different language, you will need to edit the formulas manually.

  • The Translate feature only supports a limited number of languages.

  • The translation may not be accurate for all formulas.

  • The Translate feature may not be able to translate formulas that contain special characters or functions.

This method is the easiest and quickest way to translate formulas in Excel.

However, it only supports a limited number of languages and the translation may not be accurate for all formulas

Method 2: Upload the Excel Spreadsheet to Google Translate

Step 1: Go to the Google Translate website:

Step 2: Click on the File button and select the Excel spreadsheet that you want to translate.

Step 3: Google Translate will automatically detect the language of the spreadsheet.

Step 4: Select the language that you want to translate the spreadsheet to.

Step 5: Click on the Translate button.

Google Translate will translate the Excel spreadsheet and display the translated version in a new tab.


  • Google Translate supports a wider range of languages than the Translate feature in Excel.

  • The translation may be more accurate than the translation provided by the Translate feature in Excel.

  • Google Translate can translate formulas that contain special characters or functions.

This method supports a wider range of languages than the Translate feature in Excel and the translation may be more accurate.

However, it requires you to upload your Excel spreadsheet to Google Translate, which may not be ideal for sensitive or confidential data.

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Method 3: Use a Professional Translation Software

There are many professional translation software programs available. These programs can translate Excel spreadsheets and other files into a wide range of languages.

Some of the popular professional translation software programs include:

  • SDL Trados

  • Memsource

  • Smartcat

  • Wordfast

These programs are more expensive than the Translate feature in Excel or Google Translate, but they offer more features and better translation quality.

This method offers the best translation quality but it is also the most expensive option.

It is also the most time-consuming option, as you will need to export your Excel spreadsheet to a file format that the translation software can understand.

Which method should you use?

The best method for translating formulas in Excel depends on your needs and budget. If you need to translate a few formulas, the Translate feature in Excel is a quick and easy option. If you need to translate a large number of formulas or need a high-quality translation, you may want to use a professional translation software program.

Best Alternative——WPS Office

WPS Office is a good alternative to Microsoft Excel if you need a more powerful translation feature. It supports more languages, offers more translation options, and can translate multiple documents at once. However, Microsoft Excel is more widely used and familiar to users. If you are not familiar with WPS Office, you may prefer to use Microsoft Excel.

Here is a table comparing the translation features of WPS Office and Microsoft Excel:


WPS Office

Microsoft Excel

Supported languages

Over 100

Over 60

Supported document types

Text, tables, images


Translation options

Automatic translation, human translation, machine translation

Automatic translation, manual translation

Number of documents that can be translated at once



Formats that translated documents can be saved in

A variety of formats

A variety of formats





Less familiar

More familiar

Integration with other applications



Here are some additional things to consider when choosing between WPS Office and Microsoft Excel:

  • Your budget: WPS Office is a freemium application, while Microsoft Excel is a paid application.

  • Your needs: If you need to translate a large number of documents or need a high-quality translation, WPS Office may be a better option. If you are only translating a few documents or are not concerned about the quality of the translation, Microsoft Excel may be a better option.

  • Your familiarity with the software: If you are already familiar with Microsoft Excel, you may prefer to continue using it. If you are not familiar with either application, WPS Office may be a better option because it is easier to learn.

Ultimately, the best alternative for you depends on your specific needs and requirements.


1. What should I do if the formula returns an error during translation?

If you come across an error while translating a formula in WPS Office:

Step 1: Check Syntax: Review the formula for any typos or missing elements.

Step 2: Error Type: Identify the specific error type (e.g., #VALUE, #DIV/0).

Step 3: Data & References: Verify input values, cell references, and data accuracy.

Step 4: Function Args: Confirm correct arguments for each function.

Step 5: Parentheses: Ensure proper opening and closing parentheses.

Step 6: Debug Tools: Use debugging tools if available.

Step 7: Online Help: Seek solutions from online resources or forums.

With these steps, you'll troubleshoot formula errors effectively.

2. Why am I getting a "#NAME?" error in my formula?

The "#NAME?" error usually occurs when the function or formula name you've entered is not recognized by the application. Double-check the spelling, ensure the function exists in the application's function library, and make sure you've used the correct syntax for the function. If the function requires additional arguments, ensure they are provided accurately.


In this guide, we delved into the world of formula translation in Microsoft Excel, uncovering the ability to seamlessly convert formulas into various languages. From activating the "Translate" function to exploring practical examples, we highlighted the efficiency of immediate language transformation. Furthermore, we emphasized WPS Office as a robust alternative, offering compatibility, security, and a holistic office solution. Empower your Excel experience with formula translation and consider WPS Office for enhanced productivity in the world of office applications.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.