Translate Shell – A tool to use Google translator from command line in Linux

I love to work and share about CLI apps since I’m very much interested on CLI applications. Basically I prefer CLI because most of the time I will be sitting in front of the black screen and it has became habit for me to go with CLI apps instead of GUI.

We have wrote many articles about CLI applications in past. Recently I came to know about google CLI utilities such as “Google Translator”, “Google Calendar”, and “Google Contacts”. so, I just want to share about it.

Today we are going to discuss about “Google Translator” which I use many times in a day to know the meanings of many words, since my native language is Tamil.Google translate is widely used by other language speakers.

What is Translate Shell

Translate Shell (formerly known as Google Translate CLI) is a command-line translator powered by Google Translate (default), Bing Translator, Yandex.Translate and Apertium. It allows you to access to one of these translation engines right from your terminal. Translate Shell is designed to work on most of the Linux distributions.

How to install Translate Shell

We can install the Translate Shell application in three methods.

  • Download self-contained executable file
  • Manual Method
  • Via Package Manager

Method-1 : Download self-contained executable file

Just Download the self-contained executable file and move into /usr/bin directory.

$ wget
$ chmod +x ./trans
$ sudo mv trans /usr/bin/

Method-2 : Manual method

Just clone the Translate Shell github repository and compile manually for any distributions.

$ git clone && cd translate-shell
$ make
$ sudo make install

Method-3 : Via package manager

Translate Shell is available in few of the distribution official repository that can be installed through package manager.

For Debian/Ubuntu, use APT-GET Command or APT Commandto install Translate Shell.

$ sudo apt-get install translate-shell

For Fedora, use DNF Command to install Translate Shell.

$ sudo dnf install translate-shell

For Arch Linux based systems, use Yaourt Command or Packer Command to install Translate Shell from AUR repository.

$ yaourt -S translate-shell
$ packer -S translate-shell

How to use Translate Shell

After successfully installation, open your terminal and fire the following command. Google Translate can identify the language of the source text automatically, and Translate Shell by default translates the source text into the language of your locale.

$ trans [Words]

I’m going to translated a Tamil word “நன்றி” (Nanri) to English. It means “Thanks” .

$ trans நன்றி


Definitions of நன்றி
[ தமிழ் -> English ]



Alternatively translate a word into Tamil using following command.

$ trans :ta thanks


Definitions of thanks
[ English -> தமிழ் ]

        gratitude, thanks


To Translate a word into more than one language use following command (In this example, i’m going to translate a word into Tamil & Hindi).

$ trans :ta+hi thanks


Definitions of thanks
[ English -> தமிழ் ]

        gratitude, thanks




Definitions of thanks
[ English -> हिन्दी ]

        thanks, thank, gratitude, thankfulness, felicitation

    धन्यवाद, शुक्रिया

To Translate words into one argument (phrase) use following command (just quote the sentence into one argument).

$ trans :ta "what is going on your life?"
what is going on your life?

உங்கள் வாழ்க்கையில் என்ன நடக்கிறது?
(Uṅkaḷ vāḻkkaiyil eṉṉa naṭakkiṟatu?)

Translations of what is going on your life?
[ English -> தமிழ் ]

what is going on your life?
    உங்கள் வாழ்க்கையில் என்ன நடக்கிறது?

To Translate Translate each word alone.

$ trans :ta curios happy


Translations of curios
[ Română -> தமிழ் ]

    ஆர்வம், அறிவாளிகள், ஆர்வமுள்ள, அறிய, ஆர்வமாக


Definitions of happy
[ English -> தமிழ் ]

        happy, convivial, debonair, gay
    திருப்தி உடைய


    சந்தோஷமாக, மகிழ்ச்சி, இனிய, சந்தோஷமா

Brief Mode : By default, Translate Shell displays translations in a verbose manner. If you prefer to see only the brief information, just add -b option.

$ trans -b :ta thanks

Dictionary Mode : To use Translate Shell as a dictionary, just add -d option.

$ trans -d :en thanks

        - gratitude, appreciation, acknowledgment, recognition, credit

        - thank you, many thanks, thanks very much, thanks a lot, thank you kindly, much obliged, much appreciated, bless you, thanks a million

    - In short, thanks for everything that makes this city great this Thanksgiving.

    - many thanks

    - There were no thanks in the letter from him, just complaints and accusations.

    - It is a joyful celebration in which Bolivians give thanks for their freedom as a nation.

    - festivals were held to give thanks for the harvest

    - The collection, as usual, received a great response and thanks is extended to all who subscribed.

    - It would be easy to dwell on the animals that Tasmania has lost, but I prefer to give thanks for what remains.

    - thanks for being so helpful

    - It came back on about half an hour earlier than predicted, so I suppose I can give thanks for that.

    - Many thanks for the reply but as much as I tried to follow your advice, it's been a bad week.

    - To them and to those who have supported the office I extend my grateful thanks .

    - We can give thanks and words of appreciation to others for their kind deeds done to us.

    - Adam, thanks for taking time out of your very busy schedule to be with us tonight.

    - a letter of thanks

    - Thank you very much for wanting to go on reading, and thanks for your understanding.

    - Gerry has received a letter of thanks from the charity for his part in helping to raise this much needed cash.

    - So thanks for your reply to that guy who seemed to have a chip on his shoulder about it.

    - Suzanne, thanks for being so supportive with your comments on my blog.

    - She has never once acknowledged my thanks , or existence for that matter.

    - My grateful thanks go to the funders who made it possible for me to travel.

    - festivals were held to give thanks for the harvest

    - All you secretaries who made it this far into the article… thanks for your patience.

    - So, even though I don't think the photos are that good, thanks for the compliments!

    - And thanks for warning us that your secret service requires a motorcade of more than 35 cars.

    - Many thanks for your advice, which as you can see, I have passed on to our readers.

    - Tom Ryan was given a bottle of wine as a thanks for his active involvement in the twinning project.

    - Mr Hill insists he has received no recent complaints and has even been sent a letter of thanks from the forum.

    - Hundreds turned out to pay tribute to a beloved former headteacher at a memorial service to give thanks for her life.

    - Again, thanks for a well written and much deserved tribute to our good friend George.

    - I appreciate your doing so, and thanks also for the compliments about the photos!

See also
    Thanks!, thank, many thanks, thanks to, thanks to you, special thanks, give thanks, thousand thanks, Many thanks!, render thanks, heartfelt thanks, thanks to this

To Translate a File using Translate Shell, use the following format.

$ trans :ta file:///home/magi/gtrans.txt
உங்கள் வாழ்க்கையில் என்ன நடக்கிறது?

To open interactive Translate Shell, run the following command. Make sure you have to specify the source language and the target language(s) before starting an interactive shell. In this example, i’m going to translate a word from English to Tamil.

$ trans -shell en:ta thanks
Translate Shell
(:q to quit)


Definitions of thanks
[ English -> தமிழ் ]

        gratitude, thanks


To know the language code, just fire the following command.

$ trans -R
$ trans -T
│ Afrikaans      -   af │ Hindi          -   hi │ Punjabi        -   pa │
│ Albanian       -   sq │ Hmong          -  hmn │ Querétaro Otomi-  otq │
│ Amharic        -   am │ Hmong Daw      -  mww │ Romanian       -   ro │
│ Arabic         -   ar │ Hungarian      -   hu │ Russian        -   ru │
│ Armenian       -   hy │ Icelandic      -   is │ Samoan         -   sm │
│ Azerbaijani    -   az │ Igbo           -   ig │ Scots Gaelic   -   gd │
│ Basque         -   eu │ Indonesian     -   id │ Serbian (Cyr...-sr-Cyrl
│ Belarusian     -   be │ Irish          -   ga │ Serbian (Latin)-sr-Latn
│ Bengali        -   bn │ Italian        -   it │ Sesotho        -   st │
│ Bosnian        -   bs │ Japanese       -   ja │ Shona          -   sn │
│ Bulgarian      -   bg │ Javanese       -   jv │ Sindhi         -   sd │
│ Cantonese      -  yue │ Kannada        -   kn │ Sinhala        -   si │
│ Catalan        -   ca │ Kazakh         -   kk │ Slovak         -   sk │
│ Cebuano        -  ceb │ Khmer          -   km │ Slovenian      -   sl │
│ Chichewa       -   ny │ Klingon        -  tlh │ Somali         -   so │
│ Chinese Simp...- zh-CN│ Klingon (pIqaD)tlh-Qaak Spanish        -   es │
│ Chinese Trad...- zh-TW│ Korean         -   ko │ Sundanese      -   su │
│ Corsican       -   co │ Kurdish        -   ku │ Swahili        -   sw │
│ Croatian       -   hr │ Kyrgyz         -   ky │ Swedish        -   sv │
│ Czech          -   cs │ Lao            -   lo │ Tahitian       -   ty │
│ Danish         -   da │ Latin          -   la │ Tajik          -   tg │
│ Dutch          -   nl │ Latvian        -   lv │ Tamil          -   ta │
│ English        -   en │ Lithuanian     -   lt │ Tatar          -   tt │
│ Esperanto      -   eo │ Luxembourgish  -   lb │ Telugu         -   te │
│ Estonian       -   et │ Macedonian     -   mk │ Thai           -   th │
│ Fijian         -   fj │ Malagasy       -   mg │ Tongan         -   to │
│ Filipino       -   tl │ Malay          -   ms │ Turkish        -   tr │
│ Finnish        -   fi │ Malayalam      -   ml │ Udmurt         -  udm │
│ French         -   fr │ Maltese        -   mt │ Ukrainian      -   uk │
│ Frisian        -   fy │ Maori          -   mi │ Urdu           -   ur │
│ Galician       -   gl │ Marathi        -   mr │ Uzbek          -   uz │
│ Georgian       -   ka │ Mongolian      -   mn │ Vietnamese     -   vi │
│ German         -   de │ Myanmar        -   my │ Welsh          -   cy │
│ Greek          -   el │ Nepali         -   ne │ Xhosa          -   xh │
│ Gujarati       -   gu │ Norwegian      -   no │ Yiddish        -   yi │
│ Haitian Creole -   ht │ Pashto         -   ps │ Yoruba         -   yo │
│ Hausa          -   ha │ Persian        -   fa │ Yucatec Maya   -  yua │
│ Hawaiian       -  haw │ Polish         -   pl │ Zulu           -   zu │
│ Hebrew         -   he │ Portuguese     -   pt │                       │

To know more options, navigate to man page.

$ man trans

About Magesh Maruthamuthu

Love to play with all Linux distribution

View all posts by Magesh Maruthamuthu

4 Comments on “Translate Shell – A tool to use Google translator from command line in Linux”

  1. You know, at risk of sounding like a narcissist because perhaps there’s some kind of holistic flow to the universe I’m unaware of, you could help a bro out and at least bother to mention where these “inspirations” come from just once in a while. I’ll do it for you: or just follow most of the posts I and a few others make on /r/commandline.

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