I have been wanting to read some Spanish literature for a long time and wondered if my Kindle can translate entire books into English.
Kindle does boast instant translation for highlighted texts, but would it be a far-fetched idea to think that Kindle can translate the entirety of Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges?
With this article, I will share with you what I learned after hours of testing and research on whether Kindle can translate books.
Kindle devices and the Kindle app can only translate highlighted texts and not entire books. You may be able to access translated books directly from the Kindle store, by sideloading downloaded content from digital archives or using Google Translate.
Can Kindle Translate Entire Books?
Unfortunately, Amazon is yet to release a feature that automatically translates entire books.
Kindle can, at the current stage, only translate manually highlighted texts.
But the time might not be far off for such a future, as smartphones have the capability to translate entire screens instantly.
Amazon's Kindle is quite underpowered compared to smartphones, mainly owing to its monotonous utility and high costs for the E-Ink displays.
So it might take a while for the tech to port over to Kindle devices.
But Kindle tech has evolved quite a lot over the years, with newer generations offering features such as a type c port, wireless charging, and support for podcasts via Bluetooth.
Can the Kindle App on Smartphones Translate Entire Books?
Coming to the smartphone side, it is only logical to think that the Kindle app might have instant translation capabilities.
Smartphones have enough power to run multiple translations, and voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Siri already have the competence to translate screens.
But unfortunately, Amazon is yet to roll out an instant translation update for the Kindle app on both iOS and Android.
The Kindle app does however translate much faster than the Kindle can.
Hacks to Read Translated Books on Kindle
Now, not all hope is lost in your quest for reading translated books on your Kindle.
There are methods with which you can enjoy the same, both officially available from Amazon and unofficial.
Download a Bilingual Dictionary on the Kindle
Although this is not a method for translating entire books, it helps in getting better translation services and feeds for your highlighted texts.
Not many know this, but Kindle has support for downloading dictionaries of various languages which you can use for your translation needs offline.
To add a dictionary to your Kindle, follow the steps below:
- From the homepage of your Kindle, scroll through your library till you find a book named Dictionaries. This is a default book for all Kindle libraries.
- Tap on it to get access to the list of available dictionaries.
Get a translated book from the Kindle Store
This might be the most rudimentary hack in this list, but it is something that many tend to forget.
Amazon's Kindle library is one of the largest digital libraries out there for purchasing books.
The chances of finding a translated copy of the book you need are much higher than you might initially assume.
People have the freedom to translate and release their own Kindle versions, further increasing the chances of coming upon a translated version of your book.
So it is best to first do a thorough check of whether a translated version of your book exists.
You can do the same by following the steps given below:
- Visit the Kindle Store from your Kindle device or the Kindle app on your phone or tablet.
- On the search field on top, search for your book and add the language you want on the search field as well.
- Search for relevant results, and download the sample first to verify that the translation suits you before making a buying decision.
If you already have a version of the book in its original language in your library, it is sure to be an added monetary investment to get another version of the same book.
It is best to check the Kindle Unlimited library first then. You can rent and download different versions and use the translation that suits you best.
Sideload a Translated Copy to the Kindle
In the current digital age, there are plenty of archive websites that religiously upload and preserve old books, including translated versions.
These books are free to access and download for anyone.
So if you find a translated copy of your book in popular archive websites such as the Internet Archive or PDFdrive, you can download the same and sideload it to your Kindle.
Make sure before downloading that the archive websites you check are not uploading pirated content.
Do note that most of the books will be in a pdf format, which although supported on Kindle devices, might not work as seamlessly as a MOBI file.
MOBI files are the format Kindle devices use for almost all the books that you download from the Kindle Store.
This is where an ebook management application like Calibre comes into the picture.
Calibre is a completely open-source application available on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs that allows you to safely convert your books to MOBI and transfer them to your Kindle.
You can also use the send-to-Kindle feature directly from Calibre.
Use Google Translate
Google Translate is one of the most popular services used in the world to translate text into different languages.
Although it is far from being 100% accurate with its translations, it is still a formidable service you can use to translate your books.
Although this is a massive chore, it is still a method of translation nonetheless. Especially if the above steps don't work for you.
You can even have Google Translate read aloud the translated contents for you in case you want to sit back and listen to your books.
A creative way to go about this is to use Google Lens to scan the text on your Kindle and let it automatically translate what's on the screen.
Alternatively, if you get access to EPUB files, you can use a service such as EPUB Translator, which basically translates whole books to other languages using Google Translate.
Do note that these translations still have the drawbacks of Google's translation engine, and factors such as idioms will definitely be lost in translation.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a tech that is utilized by publishers for protecting content, including books on Kindle to essentially restrict access to copyrighted material.
Intended as a method to tackle piracy, DRM ensures that the books that your purchase and download from the Kindle Store can only be used on Kindle devices.
You will not be able to transfer the books to other devices and gain access to the books.
DRM is only applicable to books that you download from the Kindle Store, and does not automatically lock the books that you sideload to your Kindle.
Digital archivists are against DRM in general, as it gives complete authority and the right to preservation of content to the publishers.
Although there are open-source projects such as DeDRM and KindleDecrypt, they are no longer maintained as getting around DRM gets patched up frequently.
If you have further queries regarding Kindle's ability to translate books, feel free to contact Amazon Kindle support.
I hope my article on whether Kindle can translate whole books has been a helpful read and has aided you with the same.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is it legal to remove DRM from Kindle books?
Removing DRM from Kindle books or any media is not illegal, but distributing books after removing DRM is illegal.
Is Kindle Unlimited free?
Kindle Unlimited is a paid subscription service that allows users to rent and access thousands of books for free. Depending on the region, Amazon offers a free trial for the first month or two.
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