These settings, extensions, and apps let you work with multiple languages on a Chromebook.
When you set up a Chromebook, the system prompts you to choose a language. This helps ensure that you understand the sign-in and setup prompts, since they’ll be displayed in the language you select.
After the initial Chromebook setup, you can configure your device to support additional languages, which may be helpful for people who are either bilingual or who are learning a language. Potential changes include adjustments to your Chromebook’s language and keyboard settings, modifications to your Google account language settings, as well as the installation of Google Translate tools.
The following steps show how to add Spanish as an additional language to your Chromebook and Google account. However, the setting also may be used to add any of several supported languages and keyboards to a Chromebook.
SEE: Google Sheets: Tips and tricks (TechRepublic download)
4. Either enter the name of a language you wish to add in the search box or scroll through the list of languages displayed. Select the checkbox to the left of each language you want to add to your Chromebook.
Some languages offer several versions. For example, if you search for Spanish, the system lets you choose to add Spanish as it is used in different countries, including Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Honduras, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, the US, and Venezuela. You may add one or more of these options.
5. Select the Add button and the system will add support for the language to your Chromebook.
6. OPTIONAL: Select the three-dot menu to the right of any language installed on your Chromebook. That menu offers two options you may select separately:
With two keyboards enabled, you may select the input method button on the shelf, then select a keyboard option (Figure B). For example, to type in English, select the US keyboard, or, to type in Spanish, select the US international keyboard.
With the international keyboard selected, the Alt key to the right of the space bar becomes important: Hold it and select e, i, n, for example, to type é, í, or ñ (Figure C). The Alt key to the left of the space bar continues to function as a standard alt key.
For additional input options, such as for languages not easy to type with a conventional Chromebook keyboard, install the Google Input tools extension. Once added, select the extension from the extensions menu, then choose Extension Options. Select a language from the left-side Add Input Tools list, then click on the arrow to add the language as an input option in Chrome.
3. Either enter the name of a language in the search box, then select the magnifying glass icon to search, or scroll through the list to select a language. If you search for Español, for example, you may then select a country. Press the Select button to add the language.
4. Optionally, you may select or tap the up arrow to the right of any added language to make that language the default for your Google account.
The Google Translate extension lets you select and translate specific words, sentences, or paragraphs between two languages. You need an internet connection to use the extension.
3. After the confirmation prompt displays, select Add Extension.
4. Once installed, you may select a word or sentences on a web page, then select the Google Translate icon that displays.
For offline translation capabilities, install the Google Translate Android app on your Chromebook. You also need to download languages before you attempt offline translation.
Note: Some older Chromebooks may not support the installation of Android apps. Similarly, an administrator may prevent the installation of apps. If you use a Google account for school or work, contact your administrator if you are unable to install Google Translate.
Additionally, you also might note that Google Docs supports multiple language use. Assistive writing, initially only available for English, also now works for Spanish. The feature offers suggested words, as well as spelling and grammar correction in both English and Spanish. You may type in either language within a document, since assistive writing automatically detects the language you use. Voice typing (in a Google Doc: Tools | Voice Typing | select the drop down to choose your spoken language), which transcribes spoken words into a Google Doc, and document translation (in a Google Doc: Tools | Translate Document), which converts your entire document into another language, also aid multilingual communication.
Have you configured your Chromebook to support multiple languages? What settings, extensions, and apps do you find most helpful to enable writing, dictation, reading, and translation on your device? Add comments below or let me know on Twitter (@awolber) what additional settings or apps you find useful when working with more than one language on a Chromebook.