back to article With version 117, Firefox finally speaks Chrome's translation language

The latest version of the flagship FOSS browser is out, and it's picked up one of the main features for which we keep Chrome around. The Firefox version 117 feature list might not look all that impressive, but it does have a big-ticket feature that may tempt people back: automatic translation. The snag is it's disabled by …

  1. jonha

    FF convert

    I started browser life (well, almost) with Firefox, later switched to Pale Moon (still my std browser) and use(d) Vivaldi for stuff that doesn't work under PM. I also had Vivaldi as default under Android.

    However, the other day, after yet another bloated Vivaldi for Android update I decided to try Firefox for Android (f-droid version), as Vivaldi is not only bloated but is getting slower with every release. MUCH better. It's faster, both for startup and in use and it supports Firefox extensions. The latter is a killer feature as I now can control cookies under Android as I can under Linux (Cookie AutoDelete extension). Hooray!

    Not stopping there, I also installed LibreWolf (a Firefox descendant) on my Linux desktop. And I have to say, it's again much better than I expected though I am not sure it'll fully replace Vivladi any time soon.

    I for one am new officially a Firefox fanboi :-)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: FF convert

      Try Brave on your Android.

      I'm very happy with it.

      1. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: FF convert

        I've been quite happy with it too - having read the story cited in the article, however, I may reassess (after a little more research).

        1. silent_count

          Re: FF convert

          @Pascal Monett & LionelB

          On your recommendations, I've installed Brave browser on Android and had a little play with it. So far it looks good. I am pleased that the settings have sensible defaults - they default towards privacy and having the extra bells and whistles switched off. It's a really pleasant experience!

          Thank you both for the suggestion.

        2. aerogems Silver badge

          Re: FF convert

          I read that article and it seemed like some of the complaints were valid, but others were definitely more in the "axe to grind" category. I mean they spent a lot of time talking about how Peter Theil is a real piece of shit because he killed Gawker and funds all these idiotic Libertarian fantasy ideas that fail miserably, then they try to paint Eich with the same brush because he accepted VC funding from a company associated with Thiel. The bits about the fact that Brave initially wanted to run its own ad network is definitely a fair criticism, though the fact that they were willing to be talked out of it before ever actually even starting work on it mitigates it to a large degree. The crypto currency thing is also largely fair. The Prop 8 thing... I certainly don't agree with his decision to donate money the way he did, but there are people who might say the same thing about giving a donation to the ACLU.

          Not to get off on too much of a rant here, but this kind of shit is what I hate about society today. Everything is so tribal. If someone doesn't espouse the correct specific set of beliefs they are excommunicated from the tribe. This happens on both sides of the political aisle. And while everyone is so busy virtue signaling to one another, there's no meaningful discussions going on with individuals from other tribes and they drift ever further apart. It's just "Those damn liberals hate freedom! Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!" Or, "Conservatives are all fascists! Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!" You can disagree with someone's opinion on a matter while still respecting it. At least as long as it is based on a considered opinion. If they just believe something because some talk radio host said they should, that is deserving of mockery and derision, but if they've given the position some thought and chose the one that aligns with their personal values, I may disagree, but that's fine. I never understood what my late friend saw in his wife (or vice versa), but it worked for them, so as his friend I just accepted that he was happy with the arrangement and figured the rest was really none of my business.

          1. Ian 55

            Re: FF convert

            Stop digging.

            The altering of URLs to replace afliate links with their own ones was the absolute deal breaker for using Brave.

            They did it once, we're caught, and did it again from memory, but once should have been enough for anyone.

            1. aerogems Silver badge

              Re: FF convert

              I was going off of what was written in the linked article. I've been vaguely aware of Brave more or less since it's inception, but never really cared enough to keep tabs on it in any meaningful way. Only if it was mentioned as part of some other article, like this one.

              Point remains that a lot of the things in that article are just axe grinders. There are some valid points, but unless you can show that Eich knew, or even suspected, what FTX was up to, for example, at the time and still entered into a partnership of some kind with them, then it's a bullshit example.

              1. Orv Silver badge

                Re: FF convert

                You apparently didn't read the whole thing, because the affiliate link stuff was in there. Did you stop reading when you saw that the author of the article opposed Prop 8, or something?

                1. aerogems Silver badge

                  Re: FF convert

                  Nope, but I remember a big section where they quoted some guy saying how they planned to do the affiliate link thing, but were talked out of it before they ever actually started work on it. Did you stop reading when you saw a big quote block, or something?

          2. Jan 0 Silver badge

            Re: FF convert


            You must live in a strange country, with only 2 "sides" in politics. Even in a one party state, there will be multiple"sides".

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: FF convert

      I've used FF on Android for years due to NoScript and uBlock support. Just recently I tried the latest version of FF my system (accidentally without my consent as I usually keep auto-updates turned off, it auto-updated when I logged on to Google Play which pissed me off).

      Nope, still not using it: it STILL doesn't have Page Source viewing! O_O Yes it seemed faster than before, but what gives Mozilla?? Since when was page source viewing not a part of the possible internet experience?!

      Degraded back down to 68. Guess I'm stuck at 68 until Mozilla gets a clue, I switch to FF Focus when I need a more modern browser.

      1. jonha

        Re: FF convert

        > Nope, still not using it: it STILL doesn't have Page Source viewing!

        Interesting. I've never missed this feature under Android and I even if it existed I would use it once in blue moon. Whereas the extensions (uBlock, Cookie AutoDelete and Decentraleyes) get used every day. I simply hadn't realised that FFoA has this feature.

        And Brave being a child of Chrome, I doubt it supports extensions on Android.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: page source viewing

          Well, I'm going to admit that [cough] page source viewing comes in handy for, err, researching information on certain websites that seems only accessible to certain readers of the membership persuasion.

          Yeah, that's it. Research ^_^

    3. RichardBarrell

      Re: FF convert

      I have Firefox for Android on my phone because I can use the NoScript extension with it, which makes it vastly faster and easier on battery life than any other browser.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great news

    Another win for Firefox, my default browser on my home PC and my home work laptop.

    FF + NoScript + uBlock Origin = best combination ever.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use it everyday.

    "...steadily improving in performance."

    LOL, it crashes more and more with every release.

    "Firefox deserves a stronger steward.

    You mean Google isn't doing a great job with their "See, we're not a monopoly!" browser?

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: I use it everyday.

      I use FF everyday as my main browser on Linux Mint 20.3 and honestly I don't remember the last time it crashed on me. Although i mainly have the same few tabs open rather than going to lots of different sites so i guess there might be some site out there that do cause FF to crash that I just don't frequent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I use it everyday.

        I use FF on Windows, Linux and Android, I can't remember the last time it crashed. I tend to have at least 10 tabs opened and run a few extension and plugins. The only issue I have is the constant nagging from Windows to make Edge my default browser, I find it hard to see how that's legal.

        1. Ian 55

          Re: I use it everyday.

          It also doesn't crash when you have five thousand or so tabs open.

          1. Inkey

            Re: I use it everyday.

            Yeah me too (on mint) ... ff with the usual extensions often times with several open browsers open at the same time with several tabs open, and open for days on end.... and with updates inbetween .... have not had a single issue in over 4 years and even then can't rule my kak handedness out....

            Brave on andriod .... might update ff on the driod

      2. stiine Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: I use it everyday.

        Well, it doesn't actually crash for me, it just hangs after a couple of days' use. The devs have also changed it so that the master firefox process can't actually be if a future release was going to be a virus or something equally nefarious.

      3. Orv Silver badge

        Re: I use it everyday.

        I use it some on macOS but it seems to make my computers processor fans scream a lot more often than Chrome. Not a scientific test but since the two are roughly equivalent feature-wise I'm not invested enough to figure out the details.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @badflorist - Re: I use it everyday.

      I don't know what you are doing with FF but my experience is entirely different.

      I've been using FF for more than 20 years (when it was named Phoenix browser) and all this time the beta release. No more than five or six crashes during all these years but, hey, it's the beta release so I am tolerant.

      1. RedGreen925 Bronze badge

        Re: @badflorist - I use it everyday.

        "I don't know what you are doing with FF but my experience is entirely different.

        I've been using FF for more than 20 years (when it was named Phoenix browser) and all this time the beta release. No more than five or six crashes during all these years but, hey, it's the beta release so I am tolerant."

        Same here with the same results except though I must admit I do not ever remember a crash. Who knows there may have been but nothing really sticks out in my mind when trying to recall any of them, all in all it has been rock solid for me for the whole time I only use the stable releases. Every time I see these whining bitches going on about how bad it is I think just what the hell are they up to that has never been my experience with it.

    3. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: I use it everyday.

      Eh? I use it for everything, and I can't remember the last time it crashed. There were some crashy versions, I think... back in the early 2010s...?

    4. Snake Silver badge

      Re: I use it everyday.

      If FF crashes on you it is most likely a corrupted user profile. Is is a bit of a PITA to remake your profile but it will probably solve your problems.

    5. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: I use it everyday.

      I don't know what you are doing with your browser or what shady websites or extensions you are using, but I can't even recall the last time FF crashed on me.

      And yes, it's a shame that Mozilla's biggest contributor right now is what should probably be it's own mortal enemy.

  4. aerogems Silver badge


    A version of Vivaldi based on Firefox's Quantum rendering engine would be like the best of both worlds. The problem is, we've reverted back to the IE6 days when some sites rely on specific bugs or "features" of a particular engine. Reddit, for example, has had a known bug in the site which causes unexpected behavior in Firefox. Firefox and Reddit both have known about the issue for literally 2+ years and neither has bothered to address it.

    1. cheekybuddha

      Re: Drool

      >> A version of Vivaldi based on Firefox's Quantum rendering engine would be like the best of both worlds. <<


      I kinda wished John van Tetzchner had gambled on FF instead of Chrome as Vivaldi's base initially - probably too late to go back now.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Drool

        From what I understand, Vivaldi's UI is done entirely in JavaScript and running on the Chromium JS engine, so I would think in theory it would be possible to get it working on Quantum pretty easily since based on the changelog from the 6.2 notes make it seem like they're using standard JS libs that should work on Quantum. It'd mostly be a matter of going through all the settings and making sure they reflected the different abilities of each engine. I think the main issue would be Vivaldi's not a big enough outfit to have enough developers to really devote to such an effort.

      2. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Drool

        I kinda wish that Opera ASA had done the decent thing and open-sourced Presto,

        I realise that von Tetzchner wasn't personally responsible for that, but, having previously overseen the creation of a very complete browser from scratch, it's a bit disappointing that he couldn't find the resources to make a new one not dependent on a rapacious ad-slinger, let alone whatever it is that the Mozilla foundation has become today.


    2. Criminny Rickets

      Re: Drool

      I use both Firefox and Reddit and have not noticed any issue. What bug are you referring to?

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Drool

        And more specifically there's comment #10 that gives a lot of examples of Reddit being aware of it.

  5. myhandler

    I use Firefox everyday all the time on Windows, sometimes with lots of tabs. I don't recall it crashing - maybe it does once a year?

    I also use Opera for some things and that's stable, if a bit quirky. I avoid Chrome.

    On Android Firefox and Brave are good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same here

      I can't recall the last browser crash with Firefox and Waterfox on MacOS.

      while we are talking about browsers and google

      I had the misfortune of having to use google to search for something today. Apart from almost demanding that I sign in/create and account, I had to verify that I was not a Robot with THREE of those stupid CAPTUR things.

      Yes, it was my fault for failing to give my soul and that of my unborn great grandson to Google. I will not be using the barstewards again for search no matter what.

      Now I must go and wash my mouth out with soap for mentioning the slurpers in chief more than once in a post

      1. lamp

        Re: Same here

        I started with Netscape Navigator on day one then went with Firefox after Microsoft "influenced" Netscape, and have used it exclusively ever since without any problems. It was great as a developer of Web apps during the IE6 nightmare.

  6. Alumoi Silver badge

    As long as

    I can disable it in about:config, why not?

    I understand the appeal for a lot of people, but being able to understand another 3 languages except my native one, machine translation for any serious text is just not there.

    So, another annoying 'this page is not in.... do you want to translate it into...' notification/popup will just piss me off IF I won't be able to disable it.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is: please, pretty please, don't force enable this option if we won't be able to turn it off. Permanently..

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: As long as

      It is a long way from perfect, but it is good enough to give you a general idea of what it is saying.

      If the page is in one of the three languages that you understand, even if you aren't that fluent, then yes, just read the original text, but if it is some other completely different language, then it is a useful tool to have.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: As long as

      There are many more wanting bugs that they've left in the code just so they could have a native translation engine? WHY?

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: As long as

        Maybe they found that, like the story author, a lot of people were sticking with Chrome just for the translation feature.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: As long as

          I've never used the Chrome translation feature, but I do keep Vivaldi around on this Linux/Mint machine purely for the translation function. One reason is that the translation isn't provided by Google... did I miss in the article who would be providing the translations?

          Vivaldi doesn't get in the way but sometimes it misses bits of the text, for no obvious reasons I can see (I haven't had the need to investigate in detail).

  7. Conercao

    I use Vivaldi and on my personal WIndows, Linux and Android devices and it work great/. I also use it on a mac for work.

    Honestly the only things keeping me from switching to FF full time is the lack of decent tab tiling (which Vivaldi does excellently).

  8. mecmec

    > We gave it a try, and it works smoothly and well with German, including login dialogs and so on – but sadly, at this point, not with Czech.

    Maybe you should spend a bit longer with it because it's absolutely awful. The translate option is embedded in the page and any text dynamically loaded with AJAX is ignored.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Rwyf bob amser wedi gweld cyfieithiadau yn ddefnyddiol, even if I just say Bha mi a-riamh air eadar-theangachadh fhaicinn mar chuideachadh ... or for you, "Ich habe Übersetzungen immer als hilfreich empfunden"

  9. captain veg Silver badge


    "Even so, whether you're an expat, an occasional traveler, or you just need to sometimes look something up in a foreign language, this is a very useful feature"

    I think you will find that "traveller" contains two Ls, occasional or not.

    Speaking as an "expat", a.k.a. economic migrant, it really gets on my tits when a browser unilaterally decides that I'm too stupid to understand the language of a web site to which I voluntarily navigated, often because it primarily serves the country in which I find myself. Oddly enough, living here I've picked up some of the lingo, sufficient that I can tell that the machine translation offered is decidedly defective.

    For the outliers, a right-click and choose the "translate" option works as well as can be expected. Don't ram it down my throat.


    1. PRR Silver badge

      Re: expat

      > I think you will find that "traveller" contains two Ls

      Traveler is predominantly used in American (US) English ( en-US ) while traveller is predominantly used in British English (used in UK/AU/NZ) (en-GB). In the United States, there is a preference for "traveler" over "traveller" (87 to 13).
      Definitions from Oxford Languages

      Let's not be snarky about spelling a shared bastard language.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: snarky

        The Register is a British technology news website


        1. Alumoi Silver badge

          Re: snarky

          WAS!!! It had sold to the US some time ago.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: expat

      Wait until you use Youtube on a smart TV. If you choose to watch a foreign cooking video, with captions turned off, the ad will turn them back on, because someone at Google didn't stop to think.

      I'm watching a Korean cooking video, on a Korean channel (there aren't any signs of the roman alphabet or arabic numerals) and yet goodle thinks I want to read, in my language, 30 seconds worth of drivel that's heavily geared towards short, tan, Korean people on the other side of the globe.

      My other case of WTF is youtube ads that don't have any spoken words. Hey, ignorant advertisers, I'm not watching a music video, I'm listening to a song. If you expect your advertising to work, in any way at all, YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

      Also, Youtube, you couldn't pay me to watch a 45 minute ad inserted into the middle of a 10 minute video, so stop trying.

  10. Stratman

    I enabled it in about:config (and restarted Firefox, to save another fifty posts) but it doesn't work for me. I went to a German newspaper site, the icon was nowhere to be seen. Asking the intertubes suggests Fifefox Nightly is needed at the moment, and as you mention in the article, release 118 is when the masses will be blessed with it.

  11. sin

    options, options....

    I have been using FF Nightly builds since I learned about them about 10 years ago, had it crashing maybe 3-4 times (always fixed in a few days max). Otherwise rock solid, with 70+ tabs open at all times, sometimes double that.

    Besides uBlock Origin, my favo(u)rite extension must be Paxmod*, which allows me to have my tabs in multiple rows, something that I cannot live without, because I want to see all the tabs and switch between them in just one click.

    Back to the subject of translation, I don't like the popup about translation, so I have turned it off: browser.translations.automaticallyPopup -> false. I still get the translate icon in URL box. I'd like an option to have it always displayed, because from time to time I need my main language translated to something else - where I live, we use 5-6 languages of which I am fluent in only 2... I know I can go to hamburger menu -> Translate, but hey, options....

    *https :// - not available in Firefox addons "store", works only in Beta, Dev and Nightly.

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