A new add-on for offline website translations is available in Firefox. It was created by Mozilla itself, which designed it so that machine learning processes take place directly on a computer, not in the cloud as with traditional Internet translations. As a result, Firefox has acquired a tool that has hitherto been the prerogative of competing companies.
The add-on is called Firefox Translations and you can download it here, from where it will be automatically installed in your browser. The translation button will then appear in the search box next to the URL and translate the page each time you click on it. Only the first use lasts, the tool first needs to download the necessary files to your computer in order to work just offline.
A limitation is that it does not offer many languages yet. Translations are currently only available from English to Spanish, Estonian, German, Bulgarian, Bokmål (Norwegian type), Portuguese, Italian and Czech. For example, our language was given priority over Chinese or French. Mozilla does not say when non-English translations will be available, but claims to be working on extensions to Russian, Icelandic, Persian and Nynorsk (another type of Norwegian).
Experimental offline translation of the English site into Czech. It is far from perfect, but you will understand the core of the message
One of the reasons for the smaller offer is the fact that the Mozilla add-on was created in collaboration with Project Bergamot, a consortium sponsored by the European Union, which aimed to create a machine-based website translator that is not dependent on cloud processes. In the eyes of the EU, this approach means greater privacy, as the data remains locally on the PC and is not sent to a remote data center.
Charles University in Prague is also part of the Bergamot consortium (probably the reason why Czech is one of the first languages), then University of Edinburgh and Sheffield University. The resulting complement is therefore, to a certain extent, the result of academic effort.
After trying it out, it is clear that Firefox Translator is not nearly as perfect as the submitters from Google or even DeepL, there is still a long way to go, but you will understand the text with a little effort. The add-on had a bit of a problem with the BBC homepage, and CNN’s translation turned out a little better. Also, the process is not the fastest, but if you need offline translations of the site or you care about privacy, this is a useful tool.