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A simple and lightweight translator that allows you to translate and speak text using Google, Yandex Bing, LibreTranslate and Lingva.


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The project has migrated under the KDE umbrella, and development will continue at

Crow Translate logo Crow Translate

GitHub (pre-)release Crowdin

Crow Translate is a simple and lightweight translator written in C++ / Qt that allows you to translate and speak text using Google, Yandex, Bing, LibreTranslate and Lingva translate API. You may also be interested in my library QOnlineTranslator used in this project.





Plasma Mobile


Windows 10



  • Translate and speak text from screen or selection
  • Support 125 different languages
  • Low memory consumption (~20MB)
  • Highly customizable shortcuts
  • Command-line interface with rich options
  • D-Bus API
  • Available for Linux and Windows

Default keyboard shortcuts

You can change them in the settings. Some key sequences may not be available due to OS limitations.

Wayland does not support global shortcuts registration, but you can use D-Bus to bind actions in the system settings. For desktop environments that support additional applications actions (KDE, for example) you will see them predefined in the system shortcut settings. You can also use them for X11 sessions, but you need to disable global shortcuts registration in the application settings to avoid conflicts.


Key Description
Ctrl + Alt + E Translate selected text
Ctrl + Alt + S Speak selected text
Ctrl + Alt + F Speak translation of selected text
Ctrl + Alt + G Stop speaking
Ctrl + Alt + C Show main window
Ctrl + Alt + I Recognize text in screen area
Ctrl + Alt + O Translate text in screen area

In main window

Key Description
Ctrl + Return Translate
Ctrl + R Swap languages
Ctrl + Q Close window
Ctrl + S Speak source / pause text speaking
Ctrl + Shift + S Speak translation / pause text speaking
Ctrl + Shift + C Copy translation to clipboard

CLI commands

The program also has a console interface.

Usage: crow [options] text

Option Description
-h, --help Display help
-v, --version Display version information
-c, --codes Display language codes
-s, --source <code> Specify the source language (by default, engine will try to determine the language on its own)
-t, --translation <code> Specify the translation language(s), splitted by '+' (by default, the system language is used)
-l, --locale <code> Specify the translator language (by default, the system language is used)
-e, --engine <engine> Specify the translator engine ('google', 'yandex', 'bing', 'libretranslate' or 'lingva'), Google is used by default
-p, --speak-translation Speak the translation
-u, --speak-source Speak the source
-f, --file Read source text from files. Arguments will be interpreted as file paths
-i, --stdin Add stdin data to source text
-a, --audio-only Print text only for speaking when using --speak-translation or --speak-source
-b, --brief Print only translations
-j, --json Print output formatted as JSON

Note: If you do not pass startup arguments to the program, the GUI starts.


├── /io/crow_translate/CrowTranslate/Ocr
|   └── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.Ocr.setParameters(QVariantMap parameters);
└── /io/crow_translate/CrowTranslate/MainWindow
    |   # Global shortcuts
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.translateSelection();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.speakSelection();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.speakTranslatedSelection();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.playPauseSpeaking();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.stopSpeaking();
    ├── method void;
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.copyTranslatedSelection();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.recognizeScreenArea();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.translateScreenArea();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.delayedRecognizeScreenArea();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.delayedTranslateScreenArea();
    |   # Main window shortcuts
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.clearText();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.cancelOperation();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.swapLanguages();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.openSettings();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.setAutoTranslateEnabled(bool enabled);
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.copySourceText();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.copyTranslation();
    ├── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.copyAllTranslationInfo();
    └── method void io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate.MainWindow.quit();

For example, you can show main window using dbus-send:

dbus-send --type=method_call --dest=io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate /io/crow_translate/CrowTranslate/MainWindow

Or via qdbus:

qdbus io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate /io/crow_translate/CrowTranslate/MainWindow
# or shorter
qdbus io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate /io/crow_translate/CrowTranslate/MainWindow open

Global shortcuts in wayland

Wayland doesn't provide API for global shortcuts and you need to register them by yourself.


KDE have a convenient feature to define shortcuts in .desktop file and import them in settings. These shortcuts are already enabled and should work by default.


For GNOME you need to manually set D-Bus commands as global shortcuts. For example, to translate selected text use the following:

qdbus io.crow_translate.CrowTranslate /io/crow_translate/CrowTranslate/MainWindow translateSelection

You can set a hotkey for this command in GNOME system settings.




External libraries

This project uses the following external libraries, which included as git submodules:

  • QOnlineTranslator - provides free usage of Google, Yandex and Bing translate API.
  • QGitTag - uses the GitHub API to provide information about releases.
  • QHotkey - provides global shortcuts for desktop platforms.
  • QTaskbarControl - to create a taskbar/launcher progress for all desktop platforms.
  • SingleApplication - prevents launch of multiple application instances.


Fluent icon theme is bundled to provide icons on Windows and fallback icons on Linux.

circle-flags icons are used for flags.


Downloads are available on the Releases page. Also check out the website for other installation methods.

Note: On Linux to make the application look native on a non-KDE desktop environment, you need to configure Qt applications styling. This can be done by using qt5ct or adwaita-qt5 or qtstyleplugins. Please check the appropriate installation guide for your distribution.

Note: Windows requires Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable 2019 to work.


Building executable

You can build Crow Translate by using the following commands:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake .. # Or `cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..` for single-configuration generators such as Ninja or GNU Make
cmake --build . # Or `cmake --build . --config Release` for multi-config generators such as Visual Studio Generators or Xcode

You will then get a binary named crow.

Building a package using CPack

CMake can create specified package types automatically.

If you use Makefile, Ninja, or Xcode generator you can use package target:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -D CPACK_GENERATOR=DEB .. # You can specify several types of packages separated by semicolons in double quotes, for example: `CPACK_GENERATOR="DEB;ZIP;NSIS"`
cmake --build . --target package

Or you can use CPack utility for any generators:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake .. # Or `cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..` for single-configuration generators such as Ninja or GNU Make
cpack -G DEB # Or `cpack -G DEB -C Release` for multi-config generators such as Visual Studio Generators or Xcode

On Windows you need VCPKG to bundle all necessary DLLs.

Build parameters

  • WITH_PORTABLE_MODE - Enable portable functionality. If you create file named settings.ini in the app folder and Crow will store the configuration in it. It also adds the “Portable Mode” option to the application settings, which does the same.
  • WITH_KWAYLAND - Find and use KWayland library for better Wayland integration.

Build parameters are passed at configuration stage: cmake -D WITH_PORTABLE_MODE ...


To help with localization you can use Crowdin or translate files in data/translations with Qt Linguist directly. To add a new language, write me on the Crowdin page or copy data/translations/crow-translate.ts to data/translations/crow-translate_<ISO 639-1 language code>_<ISO 3166-1 country code>.ts, translate it and send a pull request.