4 simple ways to use Google Translate on your smartphone

Google Translate is a powerful tool in the right hands. Beyond simple phrase translations, it can translate text through your phone’s camera and translate conversations in real time.


The Google Translate app for iOS and Android contains most of the features, but thanks to the Tensor chip, owners of the Google Pixel 7 Pro and its smaller sibling, along with the Google Pixel 6 series, have additional translation features, including Live Translate.

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This guide walks you through all the ways you can use Google Translate, whether you’re planning a trip abroad, studying foreign documents for class, or chatting with a pen pal.


Does Google Translate work well?

Google Translate has improved over the years. While many people might consider it a shallow translation tool at best, capable of translating words and not meaning, its progress over the years cannot be denied. While it won’t be able to grasp the subtle nuances of languages, it is more than adequate for everyday purposes.

No longer does Google Translate perform a word-for-word match on text. Instead, it relies on machine learning to decide what is the most accurate translation. However, translation accuracy varies depending on the language. In a 2019 UCLA study based on medical instructions (where even the slightest ambiguity is unacceptable), they found a 94% accuracy rate for English to Spanish, compared to a 55% accuracy rate for English to Armenian.

Since 2019, Google Translate has improved. If you’re using it to translate directions, menu items, or phrases, you may never run into issues. But if you’re trying to translate a classical novel written in Armenian, find a human translator instead.

Where can I use Google Translate?

Google Translate is available as a mobile app for iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and as a Chrome extension. It comes preinstalled on most Android phones, so you shouldn’t need to download it again from the Google Play Store. The app has the most features, but you’ll need an internet connection to access all the features.

You can also access Google Translate through its web page or the Chrome extension. This extension allows you to translate web pages without copying the text into Google Translate.

Regardless of which platform you use it on, it provides a variety of translation services for various purposes.

1. How to translate conversations in real time with Google Translate

One of the most notable features of Google Translate is the translation of real-time conversations. In this situation, your mobile device works like a human translator. Speak a sentence, and the translated text appears on your screen as you speak. You can also output it as audio, so the recipient can listen to the translated version instead of reading it.

If you need offline translation, you’ll need to download the language pack beforehand.

  1. Open Google Translate.
  2. Tap the Conversation button in the lower-left corner of your screen.

  3. Tap the language heading above the lower-left microphone and then choose a source language.

  4. Tap the language heading above the lower-right microphone to choose a target language.
  5. Tap the microphone button under the car heading to use automatic translation.
  6. Tap the microphone button for each language to use manual translation.

2. How to translate a single phrase

The most basic form of text translation, Google Translate can quickly and accurately translate single words or short phrases, which is handy if you’re learning a new language and are stuck on a noun. You can type or speak your phrase, and Google Translate will provide a text and audio translation.

  1. Open Google Translate.
  2. Tap the language button to the left of the arrows to choose a source language.

  3. Tap the language button to the right of the arrows to choose a target language. You can tap the two arrows button between the languages ​​to swap the languages.
  4. Cap Full text to type a phrase.
  5. Tap the microphone button in the bottom center of your screen to speak a phrase.
  6. Tap each phrase’s Copy gold Speaker button to copy or read it aloud.

3. How to use Google Translate to translate text on images

Google Translate can translate text that appears on images. This tool is helpful if you’re reading signs, menus, or labels. You can take a photo of the text or import an image.

  1. Open Google Translate.
  2. Tap the camera icon in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap the language in the upper-left corner of your screen to choose a source language.
  4. Tap the language in the upper-right corner of your screen to choose a target language. You can tap the two arrows button between the languages ​​to swap the languages.
  5. Select Instant in the lower-left corner of your screen to translate an image in real time with your camera
  6. Select Amount in the lower-left corner of your screen to translate a saved image.

4. How to enable Live Translate on Google Pixel phones

Pixel phones have the best translation features out of all Android phones. They can detect and translate languages ​​in real time, creating a pop-up window showing the translation. This means you can start playing a video and see a translation within seconds. However, not all languages ​​are compatible. Selecting a language shows the compatible features.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap System.
  3. Cap Live Translate.

  4. Toggle the Use Live Translate switch to where.
  5. Cap Add a language.
  6. Scroll down and tap the language you wish to translate.
  7. Cap Add language on the pop-up window.

When a conversation in a foreign language is detected, tap the Translate pop-up to translate the received text in real time.

Use Google Translate at home or on your next journey

Google Translate is a powerful tool, but you’ll need to know its limitations to get the most out of it. If you’re using it to help travel abroad, we have some tips for packing your electronics safely.

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