Learning Search

If you like Google Sheets, RSS Feeds, and Auto-Translations, You’ll LOVE These Two New Tools

I’ve been making attempts to gather more international news for a while now in an effort to make ResearchBuzz better. In 2017 I wrote an article about a simple way to generate country-specific Bing News RSS feeds, for example. But gathering news articles isn’t useful if I can’t read them.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, it became more urgent to me that I have a way to find and easily review RSS feeds that aren’t in English, but I could not find a solution that I could afford as a solo researcher with minimal scratch.

So I made one. Well, I made two.

There are overview/how-to articles for each, but I want to present them together here, because they’re meant to be complementary. They’re both Google-Sheets based, and because the sheets are self-contained, you can make your own copies.

(Quick Tip: For the sake of non-complicated discussion I will refer in this article to non-English feeds, which adds the unspoken assumption that they will be translated to English. However, I made the translation tool so it can easily translate to your preferred language; you just have to change one variable.)

Generate Non-English RSS Feeds: The RSSinator

The RSSinator is a Google-Sheet based tool for generating non-English RSS feeds.

Enter the query you want to translate and the country from which you want news (German offers six countries/territories, Spanish offers 20, and French offers 29) and the RSSinator generates an RSS feed and shows you a preview of the first five items of the feed in the original language, then machine translated into English.

You can get a more complete overview of the tool at https://researchbuzz.me/2022/04/19/how-to-make-foreign-language-bing-news-rss-feeds-and-review-them-before-you-commit/ . Since I wrote the article last week I added German and French to the original Spanish translation tab, so the article is a little outdated.

If you don’t want to read any more of my nonsense and just want to play with the tool, you can grab your own copy at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cgpPsyN8C0Xgl_bxZ5CKcIz3EKTwlKwEoJQQ1H1qXd8/copy

Translate Non-English RSS Feeds: the Translate Google Apps Script

Of course, once you have a non-English RSS feed, you need to be able to translate it. My solution to that is an IFTTT recipe that aggregates RSS feed items and a Google Apps Script to translate them.

You’ll start out with an IFTTT recipe which makes a Google Sheet like this:

And by using that new “Translation” menu item, you’ll get a new worksheet of translated content that looks like this with just one click:

You’ll need to have an IFTTT account connected to your Google Drive in order to use this tool. Read more about it and how to grab the IFTTT recipe and use the script at

https://researchbuzz.me/2022/04/22/need-to-translate-rss-feeds-it-s-easy-with-ifttt-and-this-google-apps-script/ .

This was my first experience creating a Google Apps Script from scratch and I learned a lot. In fact, it gave me a lot more ideas about more tools. If you have any ideas about how I could extend them, or there are some other tools you’d like to see, drop a comment.

And thanks for reading!

Categories: Learning Search, News

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