How to View a Japanese Website in English Using Firefox

by Leah Waldron-Gross

Whether you are a Japanese language student in need of translation experience or a seasoned Japanese reader having trouble with a single line of online text, Firefox provides a variety of free, Japanese-to-English translation add-ons. With add-ons like Google Translator for Firefox, you can highlight a specific Japanese sentence for a quick English translation or transform an entire Japanese-language website into its English-language equivalent.

Translation Add-ons for Firefox

As of publication, Firefox requires that you install a free add-on translator to read Japanese websites in English. Like its name suggests, an add-on is an optional browser download that gives you customized, new software options based on the most up-to-date technology. Most Firefox add-ons are free and can be accessed from your "Tools" menu or from the Mozilla add-on website. After the add-on is installed, a "Translate" button will appear next to any non-English language on your computer. One of the most widely used translation add-ons is Google Translator for Firefox, which is powered by Google Translate.

Add-on Installation

To install the Google Translator for Firefox or any translator add-on, open your Firefox browser and click on the "Tools" menu at the top of the screen. Select "Add-ons" from the drop-down menu, which will open the Firefox Add-On Manager. Type "translator" in the search box to find a list of translation add-ons. When the list appears, select a translator add-on and click the "Install" button. When the download is complete, you must restart your Firefox browser by closing all windows and quitting the application.

From Download to Use

To test your new translator add-on, visit a Japanese-language website. If the website supports multiple languages, a "Translate" button will appear in the upper-right corner of the website. Click the "Translate" button to view the entire website in English. Translating websites can be time-consuming, particularly if the site contains a large amount of content. If you only need a few sentences translated, highlight the Japanese text and right-click the "Translate" button for a sentence-by-sentence translation.

Tips and Considerations

If you have difficulty with the Google Translator for Firefox, try another add-on or visit the Firefox Add-on Manager page to find the most updated version. You must disable the Google Translator add-on before switching to another translation add-on. To disable, click "My Add-ons" and click the "Disable" button to the right of the translator add-on. Not all Japanese-language websites require a translator tool. Before clicking on the "Translate" button, check the home page for the U.K. flag icon, which usually indicates an English-language version. Due to cultural differences, add-on translators do not always translate the language perfectly or word-for-word.

About the Author

Leah Waldron is the head of Traveler Services at First Abroad, a gap year travel company based in Boston and London. As a travel, research and LGBT news writer, Waldron has publication credit on magazines and newspapers including "Curve Magazine," "USA Today," "The Sun Sentinel" and the "The Houston Chronicle." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images