Reading websites written in other languages is made MUCH easier in the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, which rolls out across all supported platforms today.

You no longer need to copy and paste text in another language into an online translator to find out what it says as Mozilla Firefox 118 is able to translate websites from one (supported) language to another.

This translation feature is super easy to use. Whenever you visit a webpage written in a non-native (per your browser settings) language a dialog appears to ask if you want to translate. If you say yes it goes ahead and translates it right there, on the page, while you watch.

Private translations in Firefox 118
Private translations in Firefox 118

Translation is not super-fast, though (I’ll get to why in a moment).

A bunch of translation settings accompany the new features, many accessible from the dialog itself.

Click the cog to choose whether to turn the dialog off entirely (i.e. don’t offer to translate), turn on automatic translation for a given language (i.e. no need to click OK in the dialog), or never translate a given language or the current website.

You can even enable automatic translation

Firefox’s Private Translations feature is based on technology from the Bergamot project. Their privacy-aware translation engine runs locally (“client-side”) on your device. This means translated text never leaves your device which is a big privacy boon.

But while this “client-side” element is a core selling point it does have a drawback: Firefox’s new transliteration talents are not instantaneous. Be prepared for slow(ish) translation times if translating lengthy text on lower-end devices.

According to other Linux blogs Firefox’s “translation” feature shipped in Firefox 117 but it never appeared for me. Mozilla themselves only mention the feature in the release notes for this version, Firefox 118 (which is why I’m carping on about it so much incase you wondered).

But there’s more to Firefox 118 besides transmogrifying text:

  • Web Audio in Firefox now uses the FDLIBM math library
  • 10 new CSS math functions supported
  • Pocket newtab sponsored topsite enabled by default
  • Font fingerprinting protection in private browsing mode
  • Idle monitor based on org.gnome.Mutter.IdleMonitor

Naturally (as some commenters take exception if I don’t explicitly mention it) this new release also includes scores of bug fixes, stability boosts, integration buffs, and other lower-level changes.

Alas, the lovely rounded bottom corners I enthused on recently are not among them – but we can look out for those in a future update, I guess!

Getting Firefox 118

Mozilla Firefox is free, open source software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can download the latest release from the Firefox website directly.

Linux users are best advised to install Firefox from their distro repos, Flathub, or similar – though it can take a day or two for a new version to be pushed out as a software update.


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