is there a universal translator for Lemmy? (

I find myself blocking a lot of foreign communities just because they’re foreign. It feels wrong and unnecessary. This is the future isn’t it?

If I set my settings to English why can’t I just use Lemmy in English and never know that the person I’m chatting to is doing so in German and they never know that I’m doing so in English?

CannotSleep420, avatar

I made a translator bot that uses the DeepL API. Allow me to demonstrate…

CannotSleep420, avatar

@TranslatorBot Turkish


Don’t know german, still enjoying the hell out of ich_erl


It’s “ich_iel” on

PositiveNoise, avatar

Kbin and Lemmy etc should simply allow options for preferred languages, and people can select whatever they prefer. Giving them the option to not see posts or see translated posts should work out fine. I bet this problem get resolved eventually. In the meantime, I'm not too bothered by blocking magazines/communities that are non-english. No biggie.

sab, avatar

This is already supported in kbin! Press your icon in the top right corner and enter the settings, and select the languages you're interested in under the "Filter languages of threads and posts" setting (somewhat counter-intuitively under the "Appearance" heading). Seems to be working great for me at least :)

jeena, avatar

Firefox already has a build in translator you can just let it translate for you so you at least could read what they’re writing at least for the languages supported it’s really cool because it’s a offline translation.

I live in Korea and Korean is not supported, also google translate doesn’t work on Korean websites so I use which allows me to translate from Korean to English.

mp3, avatar

It’d be really nice if the Bergamot translation project that Mozilla uses becomes big enough that it ends up being used in other apps as well. That’d be cool if you could get the engine as a mobile app and the apps could simply send a local translation request to it.

booty, avatar

If I set my settings to English why can’t I just use Lemmy in English and never know that the person I’m chatting to is doing so in German and they never know that I’m doing so in English?

That would be really cool, unfortunately there is no translation software anywhere near that robust. Translation is a difficult and complicated job even for humans, and it’s one of those jobs that is way harder for computers than it is for us.


Most translators aren’t perfect, they generally can not understand context

PlexSheep, avatar

Especially in language that intentionally leave things obvious from context out, like japanese.

otter, avatar

A solution could be to have it run on request. Reddit doesn’t even have that, it could be a cool new tool

Run an open source translation engine, and have a 'translate to account language’s button. It could do one of

  • run locally on your machine (like Firefox’s translations), you have to redo it if you load the page again. Doesn’t need any server reconfiguration
  • runs on the server, and the result is cached. Anyone looking for that language for that comment in the future can get it instantly
  • runs on all content on the server, for a preset selection of languages. Might be more efficient in the long run
Cysioland, avatar

Mastodon handles it by allowing you to hook up DeepL API which is free up to a certain point. I run it on my single-user Mastodon instance and it works well, you get a translate button like on The Site Formerly Known As Twitter

argentcorvid, avatar

Mastodon has support for this. some instances have it enabled.


I don’t know about others but I certainly don’t want one “account language”. As someone who speaks both English and German I want content in both languages to be accessible to me directly without a translator and if I do want content translated it probably varies by the quality of the translation which one i prefer.

otter, avatar

Fair enough, maybe a checkbox section in the settings for which languages to list?


I think the future is probably going to resolve this one in time, and not that much time either. I don’t see why LLM technology shouldn’t eventually be able to perform adequate real-time translation, it’s just a matter of continuing to develop the process.

Some languages will be more difficult than others, and translation will always be imperfect. But we don’t need perfection, just better than our current fairly meh (but still impressively not bad) tools.


Actually, it is already able to perform high quality translation. But it’s too expensive right now to use at scale.


It will always struggle, as would a human translator. The concept of a perfect translation itself is just not achievable since languages are not just word-swapped copies of each other where each target language word has the exact same meaning as its counter-part in the source language.

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