Firefox 118 Enters Beta Testing with the Built-In Translation Feature for Websites

The upcoming release also comes with support for fractional scaling on Wayland.
Firefox 118

With Firefox 117 out the door, the upcoming Firefox 118 web browser has entered public beta testing and it’s time to have an early look at its new features, improvements, and other changes.

The long-anticipated built-in and automatic translation feature for websites didn’t make it in the Firefox 117 release, as we expected, so it looks like it’s now delayed for a future release, hopefully in Firefox 118.

Indeed Firefox 118 comes with the built-in translation feature, which can be accessed via the “Translate page” menu entry in the application menu. When clicked, a pop-up dialog will open to let you choose the languages you want to translate from and to.

The new site translation feature comes accompanied by a settings panel where you can install more languages or remove the ones that have already been installed. Of course, you can also set from which languages the automatic translation will happen.

The translation feature is based on the Bergamot project to provide users with a privacy-aware translation engine where the translation is done locally using machine learning, it’s never sent to a third party, and it’s optimized for consumer hardware.

As of writing this, the translation feature is still considered a beta feature, so don’t be surprised if it won’t make it into the final Firefox 118 release. Let’s all test it thoroughly during these beta stages in the hope that it will be out of beta sooner rather than later.

As with previous Firefox beta releases, Firefox 118 beta also carries the Cookie Banner Reduction feature where Firefox automatically tries to reject cookie requests on cookie banners on supported sites, as well as the Quick Actions in address bar feature to more easily and quickly perform certain tasks.

Last but not least, Linux users will be happy to learn that the upcoming Firefox 118 release might ship with support for fractional scaling on Wayland. This feature tells Firefox the optimal fractional scale to use with the already existing fractional scaling settings for your Linux system. However, it’s disabled by default and you have to enable it via the widget.wayland.fractional-scale.enabled option in about:config.

For Android users, Firefox 118 promises support for printing page content from the browser or share menu, the ability to open pinned user shortcuts in an existing tab if it already has the same URL, as well as a new location for clearing website data in the “Cookies and site data” menu item.

Among other changes, Firefox 118 switches to the FDLIBM math library for web audio on all supported systems to improve anonymity with Fingerprint Protection and restricts the visibility of fonts to websites to system fonts and language pack fonts, thus mitigating font fingerprinting in Private Browsing windows.

For web developers, Firefox 118 also appears to support 10 new CSS math functions, including round, mod, rem, pow, sqrt, hypot, log, exp, abs, and sign.

The final release of Firefox 118 is expected on September 26th, 2023. Until then, you can take the latest beta version for a test drive to discover the new features and changes by downloading it from the official website.

Last updated 6 months ago

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