This question is related to the same project in this question, but I'm now at a later step.

I have a Google Sheet with a variety of German translations of a large set of English words. Using a separate sheet in the same workbook, I've assembled all the German translations from all the different translators in column A. Now I want to take the cleaned up list of all the translations and do a vlookup to get the English origin term.

In other words: in one sheet, I’ve got English terms in one column with German translations in the other columns; in this new sheet I’ve got German translations in one column and I want to look up the relevant English term in a second column (to perform some other operations that will happen at a later step).

I’ve tried using vlookup, but I can’t seem to get it to work because I need to look up across a range that covers several columns. I think what’s going on is that this is messing up the index, but there could be more to it that I’m not seeing. Can anyone help with that?

  • 1
    Seems like your current issues have been solved, so this is just an aside, but I would recommend adopting a CAT tool (unless this is just a one-off project). It seems like you are building up a term base and the choice of tool is already imposing some implementation constraints. This will keep happening throughout the course of your translation project. Any CAT tool should be able to support your use cases, provide analytics, handle morphology, etc. Good luck!
    – WaterGenie
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 6:23

1 Answer 1


I ended up doing this the not-so-smart way: instead of making VLOOKUP happen across multiple columns, I copied all of the English terms multiple times and stacked them vertically in one column, then put the German translations vertically next to them. This wasn't exactly elegant and wouldn't have worked on a much larger data set, but it let me run the VLOOKUP that I needed.

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