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Können Sie Lesen Deutsch?

In your family history research you may well come across a family document, letter, record, photo or even a cemetery headstone written in a language other than English.  If you can read multiple languages, no problem, but if you do not read other languages you need to translate these valuable records.

One method is to ask assistance of someone, a friend or relative, who can read the language. If no one is available, there are methods. The Google Translate feature with the Goggle Search Engine is very easy to use and can do a multiple selection of languages. This free service since 2006 can provide you with instant translations in some 64 different languages. You can place in a word, a name, a phrase,  sentence or paragraph. The translations are not just German to English or Spanish to English, but if you need Polish to Italian, it can do that also. Some of the more unusual languages having been recently added include Welsh, Slovak, Hindi, Croatian, Icelandic, Chinese and Persian. Having such a variety could prove to be very helpful in the future while doing your family research.

Simply, carefully type out the word, phrase, etc. you need translated and that you need in another language, such as English. Look for the button to indicate what language the word is coming ‘from’ to being translated into what language.  Even a whole web site in another language can be translated. Just place the website address.

The question arises, what if you have no idea what the foreign language might be?  The Google program has a section titled “Detect Language” which you can select and it will not only detect the language, but then translate it into English by default.  There is also an android version for those who need to translate using their tablet or cell phone.

This is not the only translation service on the Internet. There is Free Translation which will do the same format as Google, translating a word, name, paragraph, a phrase or an entire web site. That includes any messages you get on Facebook accounts can be translated. Approximately some 2 million people use this site per week.

One of the most common areas I have needed translations are the words placed on an ancestor’s headstone and in Wills.

The title translates to: Can you read German?

Jacob Bixler (1730-1807)

Translation of Headstone reads:

Here lies and rests Jacob Bixler.

He was born on the 11th of March, 1730,

and died on the 14th of March, 1807.

He reached the age of 77 years and 3 days.

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