What are the Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages?
Extensive reading in a foreign language is an extremely effective way to increase your vocabulary, but without the use of graded readers or interlinear translations, it can be frustrating and tedious using a dictionary to look up words that you don’t know. Luckily there are some Chrome extensions that you can use when reading webpages to instantly translate words and even save them to flashcard decks to review later. These Chrome extensions for learning languages all use Google Translate to produce the translations, but let’s take a look at their different options and features.
Readlang Web Reader
My favorite Chrome extension for learning vocabulary through translation is Readlang because it saves every word you click on as flashcards so you can review them later. The entire sentence is also saved so you have the context, which is very important in learning vocabulary. You can also change the settings so that you hear the pronunciation after you click the word, and import the entire webpage to your Readlang account. The free account gives you unlimited single word translations and 10 phrase translations per day, while the premium account is only $5 a month or $48 a year. You can also install the Readlang bookmarklet on mobile or tablet (Safari or Chrome on iOS and Chrome on Android).
Readlang Web Reader
The words you clicked on and the entire sentence are imported into your flashcards
Mango Reader Beta
The Mango Reader extension was just released in April and it is still in Beta mode, but it looks promising. After installing the extension, choose the language that you’re learning in the settings, and then just double click on a word. The translation will appear, along with a speaker icon to listen to the pronunciation, plus links to WordReference and conjugation websites. If you have a Mango account, you can sign in and have the option to save the word to your Vocab List to study later. You may have access to Mango Languages for free through your local American or Canadian library, but if not, unfortunately there isn’t a free option to create an account just for Mango Reader. However, for $20 a month or $175 a year, you will have unlimited access to all of their language courses (71 languages and counting.)
One small bug I noticed was that the pronunciation is sometimes an American accent pronouncing the word as if it were English, but the second click produced the correct pronunciation in the correct language. Currently, the supported languages for Mango Reader include: Modern Standard Arabic, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Latin American Spanish.
Mango Reader Beta
Translate words on webpages and save them to your own customizable flashcard decks with Rememberry. Translations and pronunciations are via Google Translate. This is a relatively new extension, and mobile apps and offline use are in the works.
Of course, Google Translate has their own Chrome extension that makes it easy to quickly look up a translation. With the Google Translate extension, you highlight a word to get the translation (and pronunciation, if available). Clicking on More will take you directly to the translate.google.com page.
Google Translate Chrome Extension
Overall, I prefer to use Readlang because of the minimalist interface and the fact that the entire sentence is automatically saved. Sometimes I just use Google Translate if I’m not interested in saving words to flashcard decks. If you already use Mango Languages often, then their web reader might be a better option so you can save your word lists to your existing account.
Are there other Chrome extensions for learning languages that you recommend? Let me know!
[Post updated in April 2017 replacing Rememberry with the now-defunct lingua.ly extension.]
Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.