• Loie Favre

Best Google Chrome Extensions for writers and translators

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

So you’re a professional writer or translator. Quality is an important measurable in our line of work, and when it’s lacking, it gets noticed. Mistakes can cost you a client. However, there are software solutions for nearly any problem online nowadays, and many of them help language professionals write better, find the right word, do more research, organize our work, and stay productive on top of it all. A lot can be achieved by adding plug-ins to your internet browser. Here are my top favorite, best Google Chrome Browser Extensions for writers and translators.

Best Chrome Extensions for writers and translators.

Best grammar and spellchecker: Grammarly

If I got a quarter for every Grammarly ad I’ve seen, I could buy myself a yacht. These guys spend a lot of digital ads, but in the end, they got me. I installed it and gave it a whirl. It’s easy enough to get, and there’s a free version too. It takes just a minute to install through the Chrome extension store (or alternate Browser store) and you can create an account so Grammarly learns from your style and can help you even more. Grammarly is also available in French, German, Hindi, Italian, and Japanese, though they say there are more to come. There is a free and a paid version.

Best VPN: Hide My Ass

As a freelancer, I like to keep expenses low. Sure, spending money and supporting developers is great, especially if they are independent or small companies, but as I build my business, I can’t be subscribing to services left and right. That’s why I really like HideMyAss and it's free VPN Chrome extension that allows me to hide my location. This is particularly important for me as a writer and translator when I do research. As I live in Germany, cookies and my IP address make it hard for me to gain access to localized sites for other locales. So, I like to HideMyAss when needed. And I like the name, so there’s that.

Best little hack: Save to Google Drive

I’m a huge user of Google’s Apps, like Gmail, Drive, Sheet, Docs, etc. And I’m sure you are too. But I really hate it when I have to click a lot to get one thing done. It’s tedious, so I am always looking for shortcuts. One in particular comes in the form of a Chrome extension “Save to Google Drive”. It’s a simple extension but saves me time if I am doing research or saving pictures, screenshots, etc. I just click there, choose the folder and away it goes. No muss, no fuss.

Best machine translation tool: Reverso – Translation, dictionary

Translators may have their qualms about Machine Translation tools, such as quality, confidentiality, and transparency issues, not to mention knocking down our translator rates a notch. But it’s really hard to deny that Machine Translation really helps our work. It’s great to speed up the process, plus even offer suggestions you might never have thought of. How much or little you use it is up to you. If you’re a writer, you can use it to translate sites for research purposes. It’s free of course.

Bonus: if you are an Enterprise member of SDL, then their own Neural Machine Translation Instant Translation Chrome Extension is quite cool.

Google Chrome Extension Reverso Machine Translation Tool Image
Reverso uses Neural Machine Translation (NMT) to help predict the best translation.

Best thesaurus: Power Thesaurus

Am I the only one who loves the thesaurus? I really love to search for that one perfect word for a sentence and I actually find pleasure in searching for it. And when I find it, huzzah! It’s better than... . Anyway, no matter how geeky I sound, this free thesaurus extension for Chrome is a neat tool for your browser to use when you’re writing and don’t want to open a new tab just to look up synonyms. It’s a faster way of scratching that itch.

Best tool to battle procrastination: StayFocusd

I think that most of us do this (and if you don’t, well, you’re a machine). And that’s procrastinating. Especially when the news is just flying off the shelves these days, it’s easy to get sidetracked and enthralled in your favorite news site. Next thing you know, it’s lunchtime and you haven’t worked a bit (time is money for most freelancers, so this is quite bad). That’s where StayFocusd saves the day. It can be configured to help you stay on track by blocking access to these websites that usually lure you away simply because you are easy to distract. It’s also cool because it doesn’t save any of your personal data.

Girl Shopping Too Much Online
Online shopping again? Quit it! Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Best quick dictionary: Google Dictionary

I love words and discovering new ones. There are 171,476 words in the English language, and I admit I do not know them all. So next time your German friend gets angry when you don’t know the meaning of a particular word, remind them of that (I speak from personal experience). There are a lot of great dictionaries out there, but since you are using Google anyway, you might as well add the Google Dictionary Chrome extension. It is available in 19 languages, including American and British English, plus French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese and more!

Google Chrome Extension Google Dictionary
Google Dictionary uses the power of the search engine for quick definitions.

Don’t overdo it!

My parting words are don’t get too much of a good thing. That means, you can have one, two, or three Chrome Extensions switched on at once, but after the fourth or fifth, depending on your computer, this might cause some lags in speed and performance. A slow computer is probably one of the things that irks me the most in this world, so I take that quite seriously :)

Do you agree with my list? Do you have a favorite of your own? I’d love to hear about it!

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