i found many papers and thesis written in different languages than English, mainly Portuguese and Chinese. is there an efficient way to benefit from these papers and thesis instead of translating them using Google translate.

3 Answers 3


If you have access to the digital copies, then dump the entire thing into Google translate so you can skim read it. Having done that, it would be a good idea to find a native speaker and get them to check the translation of specific sections that seem relevant on the basis of the automated translations. I wouldn't suggest asking a native speaker to translate the whole thing, or even read the automatically generated translation of the entire thing.

Another thing you could do is see if you can find other papers that cite the papers that you're looking at. One of them may contain a summary that'll tell you if you need to bother pursuing that particular paper. This will be pot luck though, and it will be a lot easier to just use Google translate.

Of course, don't use Google's translations in your work; get a native speaker to help you when it comes to that.

  • It seems that Google translation has been improved quite a bit since last time I used it(a while ago). I just tested it using some articles in Chinese. The result is pretty much understandable.
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 13:18
  • Yeah, this method isn't going to be great for complex things of course, but at least it'll let you know which sections you can completely ignore, and will let you get the gist of the paper.
    – Jangari
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:03
  • 1
    Yes. Knowing a language yourself is better, so is hiring someone who does if you can do that, but life is too short to not use Google Translate. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 19:42

If you have some knowledge of the source language, you can use Linguee.com to find the best translation of a word out of documents which have been translated (EU commission's texts for instance). Thus, you'll have the word in all its possible contexts. This is very useful for legal or technical vocabulary.


A good working knowledge of languages is important for many fields of research. Google translate is good, but no substitute for actually being able to just read the article in the original. You don't need to know that many languages for most fields. I recommend that you pick up at least one research language other than English. Which one will be most useful will depend on your field and perhaps your specific topic. (My topic requires Latin, for instance.)

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