Can I easily translate a Kindle book?
November 5, 2021 11:19 AM   Subscribe

I want to read a book that's only available in French and I don't speak French. I can buy it on Amazon and read it on Amazon's Kindle reader (I don't have a Kindle), and I'm wondering if there's any way to copy out the text into a translation app or to directly translate to English inside the app. It's fine if the translation is imperfect, I just want to get the basic gist.
posted by pinochiette to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Do you have an iPhone? Get the Google translation app. Aim your phone at the page, and the app will translate the words, in a font that resembles the original no less.
posted by Melismata at 12:04 PM on November 5, 2021


If you highlight passages, you can view your highlighted content on the Amazon Kindle site and you should be able to copy/paste from there. I doubt it's possible to highlight a whole book, but you could try!
posted by altolinguistic at 12:04 PM on November 5, 2021


re the above, Google's visual translation is a pretty impressive product compared to, well, not having it, but in my experience, it is really not optimized for long text and tends to verge on gibberish for something like a book page. (the problem is at the OCR level, not the translation level-- feeding the accurate source text directly into Google Translate would result in a much more passable output)
posted by dusty potato at 12:18 PM on November 5, 2021


I read a whole mass-market paperback book in French with it. If the text is clear/clean, it will work.
posted by Melismata at 12:22 PM on November 5, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: If you convert it to .doc, .rtf or .pdf (via, say, Calibre and Apprentice Alf), you can translate it via Google Translate Documents option directly. The output is an on-screen translation, so probably the easiest way to convert it back is to print it to pdf and either use Calibre or the Kindle conversion function to make it a functional Kindle book again. Of course it'll be rubbish on any infographics, tables etc.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:24 PM on November 5, 2021 [3 favorites]


Melismata: "Do you have an iPhone? Get the Google translation app."

This also works in Android, BTW, being it's a Google app.
posted by signal at 1:09 PM on November 5, 2021 [2 favorites]


If you convert it to .doc, .rtf or .pdf (via, say, Calibre and Apprentice Alf), you can translate it via Google Translate Documents option directly

DeepL also seems to do document translation and I've heard (relatively) good things about their French-English translations (I have no personal experience with this)
posted by trig at 2:10 PM on November 5, 2021


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