Use Your Phone's Camera as a Translator

December 2016

The newest version of Google Translate for Android and iPhone allows users to use their phones' cameras to translate text, whether it be in real-time or a photo that's already been saved.

Instant back-and-forth translation is currently offered between English and
20 world languages, including Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, German, Indonesian, and Ukrainian. Additional translation options are also available from English to Arabic, English to Hindi, English to Thai, and Arabic to German. A full list of languages can be found here.


Translate Images with Google Translate

Google Translate offers three options for translating text: instant translation, take a photo to translate text, and translate previously-taken images. This guide will walk you through each method.

How To Use Google's Instant Translate

For instant translation using your phone's camera, you must first download Google Translate and any languages that you'd like saved for offline use.

Once the application and languages have been installed, launch the app. In the top-left corner, select the Language option, and tap the text's original language. Do the same in the right-hand corner with the language to which you'd like the text to be translated.

Tap the Instant Translate camera icon:


Finally, point your camera at the text that you would like to translate. The translation will appear on the screen.

Take a Photo to Translate Text

To translate text via photo, simply launch the application, and select the Language option in the top-left corner. Tap the text's original language. Next, do the same in the right-hand corner with the language to which you'd like the text to be translated.

Tap the Instant Translate option. Then, tap the Camera button to take a picture.

Use your finger to highlight the text that you'd like translated. Google will instantly translate your selection.

Translate Images Already on a Device

Translating images already on your device is a very similar process as taking a picture.

Launch Google Translate, and select the Language option in the top-left corner. Tap the text's original language. Next, do the same in the right-hand corner with the language to which you'd like the text to be translated.

Next, tap the Camera button > Import.

Choose the photo that you'd like to translate, and then highlight the text selection that you'd like translated:


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