How to set up custom translations in Marvin for iPhone and iPad

Marvin iOS book reader logoMarvin is the most powerful book reading application for the iPhone and iPad.

On top of amazingly long list of features, the app lets the user define own custom actions, based on url patterns.

These commands can be added to a toolbar that pops up every time you tap and hold a word in a book. Thanks to that in just one or two taps you can perform a common task.

Translation is one of my top-priority features in book applications.

Google Play Books has it by default (while the entire app is pretty average). There is also a way to get a translation in Kindle for iOS via Google lookup. Thanks to custom commands you can perform the same Google lookup in Marvin – saving a couple of taps and some typing.

So, if you are looking for a way to translate English words or sentences into your mother tongue, or if you are interested in any other language duo, check out the simple guide below.

How to set up a custom translation in Marvin book reader

1. First, let’s localize the custom command we’re going to modify. Go to the home screen, tap on a gear icon in the top left corner (screenshot below: left). Then, swipe right to reveal Menu set, and swipe down (screenshot below: right).

Marvin book reader for iPhone - custom translation 1

2. Tap on Customize button (I’ve already used two: for a Polish translation, and Google search). A window will appear, where you can define your command.

Marvin has two translation presets ready to be used. One translates a word from a detected language to Russian, the other one to Spanish. Pick one, the button text will automatically change to Translate. Make sure the “Visible in menu” check box is selected.

Marvin book reader for iPhone - custom translation 2

3. To replace Russian with another language, you need to replace just two letters in the Command field.

There are letters ru between slashes at the end of the url address:

https://translate.google.com/?vi=c#auto/ru/{text}

They stand for Russian language in the list of two-letter ISO 639-1 language codes. Find the two letters of the language you want to use and type them in them instead of ru. I picked up Polish (pl):

https://translate.google.com/?vi=c#auto/pl/{text}

Every time you highlight the word and tap on Translate option in the pop-up toolbar, you’ll open a built-in web browser with Google Translate page (below right).

Marvin book reader for iPhone - custom translation 3

Now, here is a little improvement. As the iPhone’s screen is too small to handle a regular Google Translate webpage, I replaced the url with the one that links to Google mobile page that handles a translation in a bit different way.

Put the url into the Command field:

https://www.google.com/search?q=translate+{text}+to+polish

Replace the word polish with the English name of the language of your choice and you should see the result as on the screenshot below (right side).

A good thing about the translation via Google search command is that, just like a regular Google Translate, it handles longer texts, not only single words. Basically everything that goes between translate and to polish will be detected as the text to translate.

Marvin book reader for iPhone - custom translation 4

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Hope the tips were useful. If you have created your own url command for the Marvin app, please share it in the comments. There are more posts about Marvin coming soon, so stay tuned!

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