For the unlikely event that you ended up here without knowing about Obsidian: Obsidian is an amazing note taking tool. There are better places and times to justify the “amazing” in this sentence. Come back here if you are convinced and find yourself in need for an inline translation plugin.

Why another translation Plugin?

As a native German speaker who works, thinks and writes a lot in English, needing a translation of a single word or a short phrase is fairly common. Sometimes because I do not know a word, sometimes because I am used to having outsourced a part of my brain, especially the memorization process, to digital tools. Using a translation tool sometimes just feels more natural and less effort than interrupting my thought process and searching my memory. This ideal in mind - seamless translations with a minimal interruption of the thought process - is what initiated the development of the Obsidian Plugin for inline translations.

How it works

The plugin looks for a special translation syntax in the form of

[source_language>target_language>Term or Sentence to translate]

What makes it truly useful and fast is that unless you have special needs, you can omit the source and/or the target language settings and just write:

[>Term or Sentence to translate] 

This will fall-back to your default language settings.

Supported Providers

For now, the plugin supports two providers: DeepL & Google Translate and you need to obtain an API key to be able to use the plugin. Both offer a free tier that should be sufficient for even the most excessive note-in-another-language-taker. At the moment I am not planning to add more providers. However, I created a provider interface that should make it fairly straightforward to add new providers if you know some JavaScript.

How to get it

For now, it is in open beta and not yet release to the Community Plugin List. To use it, install the Beta Reviewers Auto-update Tester Plugin and add the repository to it:

Future Plans

The plugin does what I want it to do and is already a great help in my everyday work. Furthermore, I have already spent quite some time on setting up Obsidian, rather than using it. A trap that many new Obsidian users end up in as I heard… So I am planning to test this a couple of more days, release it to the Community and only maintain it. But there are some conditions und which I will put more work into this:

  • If many people consider it useful. OR:
  • If, in my next Obsidian Plugin Project, I learn more about codemirror extensions, come up with cleaner solution to detect syntax and feel the urge to re-build it. I have great ideas and visions for fancy syntax highlighting, and inline dropdowns language switcher. Furthermore I envision passing provider specific options inline through a specific syntax… As you can see, there are many potential enhancements, but this plugin has to prove itself useful before putting any more effort in it.