How to set up and use Smartcat Translator for Desktop: macOS

Stop copy-pasting text snippets from desktop apps into Google Translate and then back again when you need to translate something or trying to communicate with people in other languages! Smartcat Translator for Desktop blends into your everyday workflows, allowing you to quickly translate any text in the desktop app and have the result inserted back, not only saving you time but also improving the quality of the translation.

Smartcat Translator for Desktop is the easiest way to communicate or create content in multiple languages on the go. Create a Smartcat account and proceed as described below.

Installing Smartcat Translator

To install Smartcat Translator for Desktop on a macOS machine, complete the following procedure:

  1. Navigate to and click Get an early access to download an Apple Disk Image file with the DMG extension.
  2. Double-click on the downloaded DMG file. After the volume is mounted, the following window is displayed:

Drag the Smartcat Translator icon onto Applications. This will copy it into your Applications folder.

Navigate to Finder → Applications, locate Smartcat Translator and run it.

Setting up Smartcat Translator

To set up Smartcat Translator, follow the UI instructions.


 Granting extra permissions to Smartcat Translator

In order for the application to simulate keypresses and automatically copy selection to clipboard (⌘ C) and then to paste translation back automatically (⌘ V), you need to grant additional permissions to it. To do so, proceed as follows:

  1. Navigate to Settings → Security & Privacy.
  2. Open the Accessibility category.
  3. Click on the lock icon to unlock it.
  4. Locate Smartcat Translator in the list of applications and click on its checkbox to turn it on:

Using the application

When you are inside the source text editor, use ⌘ Enter to translate the text box contents.


In addition to translating texts directly in this window, you can translate them in any application without losing the keyboard focus, by executing the following sequence of keystrokes:

  1. ⌘ C (copies selection into clipboard)
  2. ⌘ \ (translates the clipboard contents and copies the translation to the clipboard)
  3. ⌘ V (pastes the translation)

See the Switching modes section below to learn how to simplify this down to a single keystroke.

Note that keeping your Translator window open is not necessary. You can close it and continue using the shortcuts above to perform the translation.

There are also a few handy global shortcuts:

  • ⌥ ⌘ \ (switches the translation's direction)
  • ⇧ ⌘ \ (changes mode, see below for more details)
  • ⌃ ⌥ ⌘ \ (shows or hides the main Translator window)

Switching modes

By default, Smartcat Translator works in Translate mode. In this mode, Smartcat Translator reads the contents of the clipboard, translates them, and copies the translation to the clipboard. This mode, therefore, requires that you manually copy the selection into the clipboard before doing the translation, and then manually paste the translation back. You may want to automate the copying, or pasting, or both. To do it, change mode to one of the following:

  • Copy + Translate mode simulates pressing ⌘ C before performing the translation.
  • Copy + Translate + Paste mode additionally simulates pressing ⌘ V after performing the translation.


Updating the application

Smartcat Translator will automatically check for updates on startup. If there is a new version, a notification will be shown and the application will be updated on restart.


You can also manually run checks for updates using the system menu (tray) option.

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