How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (2023)

Thanks to apps like Google Translate, it’s easier than ever to communicate with people who don’t speak your native tongue. With support for more than 100 languages, this powerful app is indispensable for travel and for any time you need to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language. At Google I/O 2022, the company announced support for 24 additional languages to bring the total to 133.

You’ll get the most out of this powerful app if you know how to use its major features. We share the tips and tricks you’ll need to master Google Translate.


  • How to translate text
  • Install the text-to-speech app
  • Additional input and output options
  • How to share translations
  • How to translate offline
  • How to use the real-time camera or upload a photo
  • How to translate handwriting
  • How to use conversation mode
  • How to use Tap to Translate
  • How to build a personalized phrasebook
  • How to use Google Translate as a dictionary




10 minutes

What You Need

  • Google Translate app

  • iPhone or Android smartphone

(Video) Google Translate 2018: Instant Interpreter!

As one of the best language translation apps around, Google Translate offers a lot of handy features and is available for Android and iOS. Here’s everything it can do and the number of languages currently supported for each feature:

  • Text translations: Type in text (108 languages).
  • Offline translations: Type in text offline (59 languages).
  • Instant camera translations: Camera translates in real time (94 languages).
  • Photos: Take a photo and upload it for more accurate translation (90 languages).
  • Conversations: Real-time, two-way conversation (70 languages).
  • Handwriting: Draw text and characters on-screen (96 languages).
  • Phrasebook: Save translated words and phrases.
  • Tap to Translate: Tap to copy text in any app and translation pops up.

How to translate text

By far, the most common use for the Google Translate app is to translate text that you can type in. This is why the app defaults to the text translation screen. Once you open the app, it is fairly easy to use. The top-left corner is the language you are translating from, and on the right is the language you are translating to.

The app identifies your recently used languages automatically, but you can tap on either language to get a drop-down list of other choices.

Step 1: To begin translation, tap in the text box to bring up the virtual keyboard, and type in the word or phrase that you would like to translate.

The app will translate it as you type. It might suggest another phrase if it thinks you have mistyped, and you can just tap that if it is what you are looking for.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (1)

Step 2: You’ll also see a small speaker icon on the lefthand side of every translation. Tap it and your device will speak the translation aloud. This can be incredibly useful when you are unsure of pronunciations.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (2)


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Install the text-to-speech app

If you don’t have the text-to-speech option, then you may need to install Speech Services by Google.

Once installed, ensure you select Google Text-to-Speech Engine for this to work. Here's how to do that using Android 10.

(Video) 10 Things to Never Type into Google Translate

Step 1: Open Settings, and tap on System.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (3)

Step 2: Tap Language and keyboard.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (4)

Step 3: Tap Text-to-speech output.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (5)

Step 4: Tap Preferred engine and make sure it's designated as Speech Services by Google.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (6)

Additional input and output options

There are several additional options at the bottom of the text box. These allow you to switch to the camera for real-time translations or to take photos to upload, open conversation mode, or turn on voice to speak your required phrase or word instead of typing it.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (7)

How to share translations

With every translation the app returns, you have a couple of icons beneath the translated text. You can get more information via Google, copy it to your clipboard to paste elsewhere, share it via Messages, Bluetooth, or other apps, or view the translation full screen.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (8)

How to translate offline

While Google Translate works best when online, you can use it to translate 59 languages without an internet connection. Be sure to download the relevant language packs first.

Step 1: At the bottom of the main screen, tap Settings and then Offline translation.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (9)

Step 2: Tap Add a language.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (10)

Step 3: Choose from the list of available languages.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (11)

How to use the real-time camera or upload a photo

Google Translate has a real-time translation feature that uses your phone camera to help you translate a sign, menu, or other written text.

Step 1: Open the Google Translate app and tap the Camera icon.

(Video) Trying "Google Translate" Trend

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (12)

Step 2: Select the language you want to translate and point the camera at the text you want to be translated. The app uses Google Lens to find and translate the text it sees from the first language to the second. Use the Camera shutter button to take a picture of the translation.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (13)

Step 3: Once the text you want to be translated is on screen, you can select parts of the text or listen to an audio translation.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (14)

Step 4: You can also send specifically selected text back to the home screen.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (15)

How to translate handwriting

You don't have to rely on type all the time. Google Translate can also work with your finger-generated scrawl.

If you have a stylus or a phone like the Galaxy Note, handwriting may be easier, but you can use your finger if you must.

Step 1: From the Google Translate home screen, tap the Pen icon and a panel pops up where you can try handwriting whatever you want to be translated. This doesn’t work well for every language.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (16)

Step 2: Use your finger or a stylus to write a word or phrase.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (17)

Step 3: Google Translate immediately interprets your scribble and places its translation at the top. Your handwritten input disappears.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (18)

How to use conversation mode

The Google Translate app offers a conversation mode that is a godsend for travelers. It lets you talk into your phone in your own language while the listener hears the translated version of what you say in their language.

Say an English-speaking person is traveling in Spain or Mexico and needs to talk to someone who understands only Spanish, all you need to do is open conversation mode and speak in English, and the listener hears a translated version of your message in Spanish.

When he replies to your message in Spanish, the app does a reverse translation so you can hear the response in English.

Step 1: Tap the Conversation icon in Google Translate, and select the language you wish to translate to.

(Video) Google Translate gets very confused

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (19)

Step 2: At the bottom, you’ll see a microphone symbol next to each language. Tap it to speak into the mic, and you can take turns speaking and watching the app translate your speech to converse with your companion in their own language.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (20)

Step 3: The arrow notation lets your companion read a message on your phone that alerts them that you are using Google Translate to speak with them.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (21)

Step 4: Be sure to choose the correct language.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (22)

How to use Tap to Translate

Tap to Translate is a nifty feature that lets you translate text from any app on your phone screen to a language you understand. This is useful if you come across a message — say, on your web browser — in a language you do not understand and need a quick way to translate it and possibly reply in that language.

Note that this works only with apps where you can select text. It does not work with images.

Step 1: Open the app from which you want the text translated and highlight the relevant text by dragging your finger to select it. Then, tap Copy.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (23)

Step 2: Long-press on the Google Translate app icon so that the Tap to Translate menu options appear, and tap Paste and translate.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (24)

Step 3: Google Translate then shows you the original text and the translation.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (25)

How to build a personalized phrasebook

If you find yourself using select words or phrases repeatedly, it might be a good idea to save them for future use — and access them quickly. That is the purpose of the Phrasebook option. Here's how to save a translated word or sentence.

Step 1: Open the translation screen on Google Translate and type in the text you need to be translated. Once the translated text appears, tap the Go button at the bottom-right of the virtual keyboard.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (26)

Step 2: You will see your phrase with a star next to it. Tap the Star to turn it yellow. A yellow star means it is saved and can be used over and over again.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (27)

Step 3: To see all your saved phrases, tap the Home button at the bottom-left or the middle Saved star button. The home button lists your saved phrases right underneath the text input box. The Phrasebook tab on the Saved page lists all of your saved phrases and words.

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How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (28)

How to use Google Translate as a dictionary

Turns out, Google Translate can also function as a very capable dictionary. No matter your primary language, you can use Google Translate to define any word you want.

Step 1: Select the same language for both text boxes and type a word into the translation box. Note that in English, you would choose the Detect language for your input and English as your output.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (29)

Step 2: Tap the Arrow, and on the next pane, Google will give its best shot at explaining the word in the first box.

How to use Google Translate | Digital Trends (30)

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Is Google Translate accurate enough? ›

Yes, Google Translate is very accurate for the most part. In some cases, it's 94%+ accurate! In fact, it's one of the top-rated translation tools when it comes to translation accuracy, though the exact accuracy will depend on the language pairs that you've chosen.

What is the best way to use Google Translate? ›

Tap the microphone icon at the top of the screen and speak your word or phrase into the app. Google Translate then translates your words in the target language. Tap the Speaker icon to hear the translation. Another option is to tap the Transcribe icon and then start speaking.

How do you get the best translation results? ›

Machine translation is set to provide better results with machine translation tools in 2022
  1. Proofread the source text. Your translations can only be as good as the source text. ...
  2. Minimize the use of complex terminologies. ...
  3. Stick to only one form of language. ...
  4. Eliminate unnecessary words. ...
  5. Avoid the use of passive voice.
11 Apr 2022

How do I make Google Translate bubbles? ›

Pop-Up Bubble Translator
  1. click the floating button.
  2. use the context menu. Google Translate, then Pop-up Bubble.
  3. hold the shortcut keys Ctrl+Alt before or after selecting the text on a webpage.
  4. use mouse selection only (disable the shortcut in Options)

How often is Google Translate wrong? ›

In a recent study, Google Translate had around 85% percent accuracy. While that may seem like a high percentage, imagine if 15% of your work was translated incorrectly. Google Translate works by using an algorithm called Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) or “deep learning”.

What translator is the most accurate? ›

DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator.

Is there a better app than Google Translate? ›

If you want to find a free alternative to Google Translate, you can try Microsoft Translator, DeepL or another “free doc translator” online. For enterprise-level software, choose a premium Google Translate alternative such as Pairaphrase.

What is the most used Google Translate? ›

The most common translations are between English and Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Indonesian. 3.

What are the benefits of Google Translate? ›

Advantages: Google Translate is free. Google Translate is available 24/7 through web browser or dedicated iOS & Android applications. Google Translate is fast and provides you with an instant translation for 109 languages.

What makes a translation successful? ›

Good translation entails accurately communicating meaning from one language (the source) to another language (the target). It must convey the original tone and intent of a message, while taking into account cultural and regional differences.

Who is the best translator in the world? ›

So today, we are going to celebrate seven famous translators from around the globe.
  • St. Jerome (347-420 AD) ...
  • Constance Garnett (1861-1946) ...
  • Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) ...
  • Edward George Seidensticker (1921-2007) ...
  • Gregory Rabassa (1922-2016) ...
  • Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky. ...
  • Stephen Mitchell.
14 Jul 2022

Which model is best for language translation? ›

Google Translate is the best translation model despite various language-specific objections.

How do you translate cursive? ›

Translate with handwriting or virtual keyboard
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Translate app .
  2. Choose the languages you want to translate to and from. ...
  3. Tap the text box.
  4. At the top right, tap Handwrite . ...
  5. Under "Write here," draw a character, word, or phrase. ...
  6. When you're done, tap Translate .

How do I translate handwritten text? ›

Translate with handwriting or virtual keyboard
  1. Go to Google Translate.
  2. Next to "Detect language," click the Down arrow .
  3. Click the language to translate from. ...
  4. At the bottom left of the white text box, click the Down arrow .
  5. Click the keyboard you want to use. ...
  6. Use the keyboard to type or draw what you want to translate.

How can I translate 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.

How do you say your name in Korean Google Translate? ›

What is your name? 이름이 뭐야?

How do I use Google Translate lens? ›

Learn how to use Google Lens to get information about your surroundings.
Translate written words with Camera from Google
  1. At the bottom, tap Translate. You may need to swipe right to find Translate.
  2. Point your camera at words you don't understand to translate them.
  3. Tap Capture .

What is the most unknown language in Google Translate? ›

8 Surprising Languages Not on Google Translate
  • Cantonese. With around 60 million native speakers, Cantonese is the official language of Hong Kong and Macau. ...
  • Odia or Oriya. Which language: ...
  • Bhojpuri. Bhojpuri is spoken in India, Nepa, Guyana, Fiji, Mauritius and Suriname. ...
  • Maithili. ...
  • Oromo. ...
  • Fula. ...
  • Quechua. ...
  • Mayan Languages.

What is the hardest language for Google Translate? ›

  • Google Translate is better at translating into English than any other language.
  • Spanish is the second easiest language for Google to Translate.
  • Italian and German are the hardest languages for Google to translate.
25 Oct 2022

Is Google Translate 2022 good? ›

Pros: You can translate documents and even websites using Google Translate. The mobile application is very useful, especially when you are in a foreign country and don't know the language very well. It is more than a dictionary that translates from one language to another.

What do we call no in Spanish? ›

Even if you are an absolute beginner, you already know the two most important words in Spanish. Let me break it down for you: Sí (Yes). No (No). Great job!

How do I know if I am a good translator? ›

The bottom line is that a good translator is one who provides correct and accurate translations. They do not use bad grammar and nor do they mistranslate content. They are also very clear and lucid and they aim to provide natural translations that are precise and yet easy to understand.

Is a perfect translator possible? ›

The “perfect” translation exists as an ideal; however, there is no one way to measure if the original text has been “perfectly” translated. The purpose of the target text will affect what type of “perfection” being aimed for, and translation techniques used to achieve the most optimal target text.

Why is DeepL so much better than Google Translate? ›

Both use neural networks, but Google Translate (like most other machine translation engines) uses what are known as recurrent neural networks. By contrast, DeepL uses convolutional neural networks (CNNs), which produce better all-round results for longer, continuous sequences of words.

What is the oldest language on Google Translate? ›

Google adds world's oldest Indian language to Google Translate
  • Assamese, which is used by about 25 million people in Northeast India.
  • Bhojpuri, which is used by about 50 million people in northern India, Nepal and Fiji.
  • Dogri, which is used by about 3 million people in northern India.
13 May 2022

How many words can Google Translate at a time? ›

You can translate up to 5,000 characters. To translate longer pieces of text, cut and paste the text in blocks, or upload an entire document. Learn how to upload entire documents to Google Translate.

Which website is the most translated? ›

The most translated website in the world —, the official website of Jehovah's Witnesses — includes content in more than 1,030 languages, including many Indigenous languages considered at risk of dying out. Among them in Arizona is Navajo, spoken by an estimated 170,000.

Why do we use Google Translate? ›

Google Translate is a multilingual neural machine translation service developed by Google to translate text, documents and websites from one language into another. It offers a website interface, a mobile app for Android and iOS, and an API that helps developers build browser extensions and software applications.

What is the purpose of the text Google Translate? ›

Google Translate is a provided service that enable users to translate different written texts from one language to another and it provides translating 90 languages.

Where is Google Translate used? ›

Available as both a website platform and a mobile app, as well as various offline software edition, Google Translate is used worldwide.

What 3 things are needed for translation? ›

The key components required for translation are mRNA, ribosomes, and transfer RNA (tRNA). During translation, mRNA nucleotide bases are read as codons of three bases.

What is the most important feature of a good translation? ›

What is a Good Translation?
  1. It must be Accurate. ...
  2. It must be Clear. ...
  3. The Translated Material must seem Natural. ...
  4. The Translation must be Geared Culturally to the Audience.
12 Aug 2018

What are the 7 important translators skills? ›

Here are some skills that translators use on the job:
  • Language knowledge. The ability to speak and write fluently in at least two languages is the top skill of a translator. ...
  • Cultural knowledge. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Writing. ...
  • Research. ...
  • Computer-assisted translation (CAT) ...
  • Active listening. ...
  • Organization.
1 Mar 2021

What is the most translated website in the world 2022? ›

World's record: Jehovah's Witnesses

It might sound shocking and unbelievable, but the website is available in 1,055 languages in 2022. That makes the most translated website with a world record that will be hard to be beaten in the foreseeable future.

Who is the first translator? ›

So, as there is no better answer, we can say that the first formal translator whose identity and work is known was Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible from Hebrew & Greek into Vulgar Latin around 400 A.D. Saint Jerome is considered the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists.

How do I delete Google Translate history? ›

Delete all history
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Translate app .
  2. At the top left, tap Menu Settings .
  3. Tap Manage activity Delete. Delete all time.

What are the 3 main types of translators are? ›

Generally, there are three types of translator: compilers. interpreters. assemblers.

Can you make Google Translate beatbox? ›

Making Google Translate Beatbox for You

Just open up Google Translate and copy/paste the text below. Now, if you hover over the mic on the translate side, you should see the word "Beatbox." This is an old Easter egg that some developers decided to toss in and it's pretty boss.

How do I make Google Translate loud? ›

Listen to translations spoken aloud
  1. Go to Google Translate.
  2. Choose the languages to translate to and from.
  3. In the text box, enter content you want to translate.
  4. To hear the translation spoken aloud, click Listen . To playback audio at a slower pace, click Listen again. Each time you click Listen.

Can beatboxing damage your voice? ›

Because beatboxing may annoy your neighbors, but it won't kill your vocal cords. Using your throat to create percussion does less damage to the vocal cords than singing does, according to University of Illinois researchers who published a study in the Journal of Voice.

What does Siri say when you ask her to beatbox? ›

Siri has a hidden talent — beatboxing. Ask Apple 's voice-powered personal assistant to beatbox and she'll reply: "Here's one I've been practicing" before repeating the phrase 'boots and cats' over and over again. The phrase is a common vocalization for beatboxing beginners to create a simple beat.

What algorithm does Google Translate use? ›

Google Translate's NMT system uses a large artificial neural network capable of deep learning. By using millions of examples, GNMT improves the quality of translation, using broader context to deduce the most relevant translation. The result is then rearranged and adapted to approach grammatically based human language.

What is the translation rule formula? ›

In general , P ( x , y ) → P ′ ( x + a , y + b ) . Mikah describes a translation as point in a diagram moving from D ( 1 , − 5 ) to D ′ ( − 3 , 1 ) .

What model does Google use for translation? ›

The Google NMT model, which powers the Translation API, is built for general usage. It may not be the best solution for you if you are looking for specialized translation in your own fields. The trained custom model usually works better than the NMT model in the fields that your training set is related to.

What is your name in Korean Google? ›

What is your name? 이름이 뭐야?

What is your name translate? ›

आपका नाम क्या है?

What is your name meaning in Chinese? ›

你叫什么名字? [nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?]

What is your name in Turkish Google? ›

what is your name? Adınız nedir?

How do I translate a long text? ›

Translate text
  1. On your computer, go to Google Translate.
  2. In the text box on the left, enter the word or phrase you want to translate.
  3. To select a different language: Small screens: Click the language at the top. ...
  4. Choose what you want to do: Listen: To hear the translation out loud, click Listen .


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