Use Google Translate with Your Smartphone Camera - The Online Mom (2023)

Use Google Translate with Your Smartphone Camera - The Online Mom (1)

By Tracey Dowdy

Last summer, when my daughter completed her study abroad program, I had the opportunity to travel with her throughout Spain and France. She had been studying Spanish and living with native Spanish speakers, so our adventures in Barcelona were language-barrier free. However, my French is very basic and très rouillé – very rusty.

I opened every conversation in Bordeaux and Paris with, “Excusez moi, je parle Français comme un enfant,” which translates as, “Excuse me, I speak French like a child.” This generally prompted a laugh, and we’d switch to English. However, my conversation opener wasn’t much help if I came across unfamiliar words in the train station or on a menu, two places you don’t necessarily want to go with a roll of the dice.

Thank God for Google Translate. I’ve long used it for translation in my work, but this trip showcased its diversity and ability to translate everything from handwritten notes to street signs.

A recent update to the Google Translate camera toolhas added 60 additional languages for a total of 88 languages in its database. One of the best features of this update is the app’s ability to detect what language is being used. This is particularly helpful if you’re translating similar yet distinctly different languages like Spanish and Portuguese.

Here’s how to use Translate text using your phone’s camera:

  • Download the app on iTunes or the Google Play Store.
  • Tap yourCameraicon, and once you’ve noted the features available, tap Continue.
  • You’ll need to give Google Translate permission to access your camera. If you have privacy concerns, you can always go in and manually change your settings when you’re not using the app.
  • Once you’ve given permission, your in-app camera will open.
  • Change the languages at the top toDetecting Languageand the language you want to be your default/preferred language.
  • Point your camera at the text you want to translate.
  • If you want a still frame of the text, TapPause translation.
  • When you’re ready, select Continue Translationand move to the next set of text to be translated.

You can also pull up a picture from your phone’s camera roll to be translated.

  • Open the Google Translate app
  • Select the Cameraicon.
  • TapImport in the bottom right corner.
  • Select the photo.
  • Use your finger to highlight the text to be translated.
  • Alternatively, you can tap theScanicon. This allows you to snap a picture translate with a swipe of your finger.

Tracey Dowdy isa freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey onTwitter.

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How do I use Google Translate on my phone camera? ›

To translate text with your camera:
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Translate app .
  2. Choose the language you want to translate to and from. From: Choose a language or tap Detect language . ...
  3. On the app home screen, tap Camera . To translate text from an image you've already captured: tap All Images .

Can I use my camera for Google Translate? ›

Camera from Google is only available on Android devices. At the bottom, tap Translate. You may need to swipe right to find Translate. Point your camera at words you don't understand to translate them.

Can I use my phone camera to translate? ›

Translate text using your phone's camera

It's as easy as pointing your camera at the text to get translations. 1. If you don't have the Google Translate app, download it now. It's available on Android and iPhone.

Can you use Google Translate while on the phone? ›

Google Translate works from any app inside on your Android phone. You just have to tap, and you'll be able to translate any text while on the go.

How do I use Auto translate on my phone? ›

Turn translation on or off
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app .
  2. To the right of the address bar, tap More Settings.
  3. Tap Languages.
  4. Under "Translation settings," turn on or off Offer to send pages in other languages to Google translate.

Is there a free camera translator? ›

Microsoft Translator is a free translation application that supports over sixty languages for online and offline use. The app for iOS and Android can be used for translating text, voice, conversations, camera photos and screenshots. Need a good camera translator app? Try this one!

Why does Google Translate not show my camera? ›

did you see the error notification when you couldn't use your camera to translate? Please try: Force close the app: Settings > Apps > Translate / Google > Force Close. Clear cache and data: Settings > Apps > Translate / Google > Clear cache.

Can Google lens translate on screen? ›

The new Lens translate feature works as follows. If there's some information on your screen that's in a language you don't understand, you can quickly translate it from the overview/recents screen (swipe up from the bottom and hold).

Which is the best camera translator? ›

Android | iOS

Overall, Google Translate is at the top of its class, having top-notch inter-language capabilities. The app currently recognizes 38 languages for instant camera work. You'll have the option of pointing your camera at any text or written material in the real world.

Is there an app that can translate someone talking on the phone? ›

In some languages, you can translate both sides of a spoken conversation with the Google Translate app.

Does Google translator work offline? ›

You can download languages onto your device. This lets you translate them without an internet connection. After you've downloaded a language, you could be able to translate it by looking at it through your device's camera lens. See languages that work with instant camera translations.

Does my phone have live translate? ›

You can toggle Live Translate by going to Settings > System > Live Translate. Be sure to pick languages in the Translate to and Add a language fields. The tech is active in Google Lens, Live Caption, some chat apps, and Google Assistant's Interpreter Mode.

Is there a live Google Translate? ›

It's exclusive to these phones as they are the only Android devices currently equipped with Google's Tensor chip. So what can Live Translate do on the Pixel 6? Essentially, it can translate live text conversations and audio.

How do I make Google Translate work automatically? ›

Request translation or turn translation off
  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More. Settings.
  3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
  4. Click Languages. Language.
  5. Turn Offer to translate pages that aren't in a language you read on or off.

Is there an app that automatically translates? ›

Google Translate is one of the best all-round translation apps on the market. The app can detect more than 100 languages and provide offline translations to 59 languages. With their Word Lens feature, you can translate text on signs from 37 languages.

Is there an automatic translator app? ›

Microsoft Translator is a free, personal translation app for more than 70 languages, to translate text, voice, conversations, camera photos and screenshots. You can even download languages for offline translation for free to use when you travel!

Is there a better free translator than Google? ›

DeepL is one of the best Google Translate alternatives for people who really value accuracy, especially when it comes to grasping context and local idioms. DeepL offers an API that you can use to automatically translate your website, as well as a web interface and apps to translate text content or text files (like .

Which app translates using the camera? ›

This application provides users with tools to translate between languages and they now include an image option; users take a photograph of a sign, piece of paper, or other form of written text and receive a translation in the language of their choice.

What is the most accurate free online translator? ›

Google Translate is the best-known option when it comes to the best free website translation tools. Via the Google Translate website, you can easily translate: Specific portions of text by copy and pasting. Any website by entering a URL.

How do I translate directly on my screen? ›

Download Google Translate for Android.
  1. On your Home screen, touch and hold an empty space. You can also touch and hold the Translate app icon.
  2. Tap Widgets .
  3. Scroll to find the Translate widget.
  4. Touch and hold the widget.
  5. Move the widget to the location on the screen where you want it. Then, lift your finger.

How do I get Google Translate to scan? ›

About This Article
  1. Open Google Translate.
  2. Tap the language in the top left corner of your screen.
  3. Select the language you want to translate.
  4. Tap the language in the top right corner of the screen.
  5. Select the language you want to translate to.
  6. Tap the camera icon.
  7. Tap the scan icon.
  8. Align the text in the viewfinder.

How do I Auto translate text on my screen? ›

Turn Tap to Translate on or off
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Translate app .
  2. At the top right, tap Menu Settings .
  3. Tap Tap to Translate. Enable. For Android 10 and up: Tap Paste . For Pixel 6 and up: To get quick translations, you can turn on Show floating icon.

Can I translate a language with a picture? ›

In the Translate app, you can translate text from images on your phone. With some devices, you can also translate text that you find through your camera.

How do I activate Google Lens on screen? ›

You can use Google Lens from: Google Photos. Google Assistant on most Android phones.
Get details & take action on your photos
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app .
  2. Select a photo.
  3. Tap Lens .
  4. Depending on your photo, check the details, take an action, or find similar products.

What is the best mobile translator? ›

Top 10 Free Language Translation Apps for Android and iOS
  • Day Translations.
  • Speak & Translate.
  • Google Translate.
  • SayHi.
  • iTranslate.
  • TripLingo.
  • Microsoft Translator.
  • Naver Papago Translate.
13 Jun 2022

What is the best live translator? ›

Google Translate

It offers voice, image, and handwriting translations for many of those languages as well and can translate bilingual conversations on the fly.

How can iTranslate someone talking? ›

Translate with a microphone
  1. Give your browser permission to use your microphone and check your microphone settings on your browser. ...
  2. On your computer, go to Google Translate.
  3. Choose the languages to translate to and from. ...
  4. At the bottom, click the Microphone .
  5. Speak the word or phrase you want to translate.

Can my phone translate a conversation? ›

If your device has a microphone, you can translate spoken words and phrases. In some languages, you can hear the translation spoken aloud. Important: If you use an audible screen reader, we recommend you use headphones, as the screen reader voice may interfere with the transcribed speech.

Is there a real time translator? ›

What is real-time translation? Real-time translation is the technology that can help you translate one language to another instantly. With the latest neural machine translation (NMT) platforms, two people can have a conversation in different languages with minimal delays or issues with accuracy.

What is the best Offline translator app for Android? ›

Offline translators at a glance
Google TranslateFreeYes
Microsoft TranslatorFreeYes
ItranslatePay for offlineYes

Do translators need WiFi? ›

Connectivity: Most pocket translators feature built-in data connections for translating without any other device or WiFi connection. Some also work by connecting to your smartphone and using your phone's data or WiFi connection.

What translator can I use offline? ›

Google Translate

Its mobile app is astounding, both online and offline. It's so ubiquitous that it's the first and last app most people think of for translating. With the Google Translate app, you can choose to translate to and from 103 different languages.

How do I activate Live translator? ›

Turn on Live Translate
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap System. Live Translate.
  3. Turn on Use Live Translate. By default, Live Translate will be on.
  4. Optional: To set a new default target language: Tap Translate to. Select a language. Tap Select Language.
  5. Optional: Add more source languages: Tap Add a language. Select a language.

Is there an app that live translates? ›

Slatch is the first instant messaging app with live translation featuring messaging, video chat and group chat.

What is Google Live translator? ›

Live Translate on Pixel 6 phones makes real-time translation possible – not just text-based language but also spoken words, interpreting live audio from one speaker to another – with no app needed.

Does Google Translate work real time? ›

Google has announced a new real-time transcription feature for its free Translate app for Android phones.

Where is the camera button on Google Translate? ›

To launch the camera translation feature, just tap the “Camera” icon on the left under the standard translation box. Tip: Before switching to the camera mode, it's helpful to ensure that your language selections are correct. Tap the “Camera” icon on the left to switch to the camera translation mode.

How do I scan a picture and translate it to my iPhone? ›

Translate text in images
  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Translate app .
  2. Choose the language that you want to translate to and from. ...
  3. Under the text box, tap Camera .
  4. You can choose to translate text from an image on your phone, or from text that you find through your camera.

Is there an app that can translate someone talking? ›

In some languages, you can translate both sides of a spoken conversation with the Google Translate app. You can also use your Pixel Buds to get real-time translations.

Can you translate text from a photo? ›

Google Translate

Available for Android and iPhone users, and free! You can translate text in images instantly in 94 languages simply by pointing your camera.

Is there an app to take a picture of something and translate it? ›

Google Translate

The app currently recognizes 38 languages for instant camera work. You'll have the option of pointing your camera at any text or written material in the real world.

What app lets you take a picture and translate? ›

Microsoft Translator

Just tap on the camera icon to take a picture of some text for an instant translation. From there, the app will scan the photo and translate the words. You can also upload pictures for translation. The app can detect languages, or you can set it yourself.

Can you scan something and translate it? ›

With the Google Translate app, you can scan and translate pictures to and from any of Google's supported languages. With a mobile device, you can scan something in real-time or pick an image from your gallery.

What is the best screen translator? ›

The best translation apps for Android
  • BK Translate app.
  • Dict Box.
  • Dictionary Linguee.
  • Google Translate.
27 Jan 2022


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