Google Translate can translate your photos: complete tutorial

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In a world with multiple ethnicities and cultures, but which now wants to be a global village, the need to understand several languages ​​is gradually becoming an incontestable necessity. This is how we sometimes find ourselves exploiting the advantages of translation tools so as not to make language a barrier in the performance of our activities.

Google Translate

It is therefore very common to translate words, paragraphs or documents from one known language to another (little or not known), vice versa. But did you know that it is possible to translate photos? To capture text as an image and translate it? This is what we discover in this post through the famous translation tool powered by the giant Google.

A very practical and modern application

The Google translation application has become one of the benchmarks in the field in fifteen years of existence. It has grown exponentially by supporting over a hundred languages. In addition to serving as a dictionary to translate a word entered from the keyboard of your computer or smartphone, Google Translate is now able to recognize handwriting and translate it according to your needs.

Google Translate also allows you to translate long texts published on the web in seconds. You can even use it as an interpreter to facilitate verbal exchanges with your interlocutor. Although such a service must be paid for, Google Translate is completely free; all you will need to use it is a good internet connection.

Innovation at your fingertips

If you are dealing with a text written or written on a physical medium, and you wish to obtain a translation, Google Translate now has an option that allows this operation to be carried out without a shadow of stress. As we demonstrate later in this post, all you have to do is point your phone’s camera at this support and you’re done. So, are you ready to check out the feature?

Download and install the app

Available on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the App Store for iPhone and iPad, Google Translate does not require a subscription or purchase. To download it, simply go to your phone’s application directory and:

  1. enter “Google Translate” in the search bar. Then press “Install” and the download of the application will start immediately. The installation should only take a few minutes, depending on the performance of your connection;
  2. click on “Open” to enter the application.

The first Google Translate configurations


Once the application is launched on your phone, you will be presented with an interface through which you can perform the basic configurations of the application. These are simple choices that will determine the behavior of the software.

Thereby :

  1. define to start your main language (French) and the main translation language, the one you will use most often, then click on “Done”. These options will become the default choices for translations. Note, however, that it is possible to modify them at any time;
  2. once done, you will be taken to a page where you will see the Wi-Fi connection waiting message (if you are not already connected to Wi-Fi). At this point, you can either connect to a Wi-Fi in order to continue downloading the dependencies for the chosen languages, or allow the download using mobile data. For this option, you will have to click on the message “Waiting for Wi-Fi” then on “Download”.

You will then see the language pack download process start and end; it should only take a few minutes. Once completed, you are all set to start using Google Translate.

Photo translation options with Google Translate

You are now ready to make full use of Google Translate. But first, note that this application has several features for text translation, including photo translation. When you click on the camera icon available on the Google Translate home interface, you will be taken to a new page that shows three options:

  • Snapshot: this is the snapshot option that allows you to translate a photo “live”;
  • Scanner: this is the option that allows you to scan a document in order to translate the text it contains;
  • Import: this option is used to choose an image or a photo from its gallery in order to translate the textual content.

Before proceeding with either of these steps, you will need to authorize the software to access your image gallery; this will for example be necessary for cases where you want to use option 2 presented above. To do this :

  1. Click on “Camera”;
  2. Check or uncheck the box relating to the authorization to be granted to Google to keep the images, then choose “Continue”;
  3. Now choose the option “When using the application”.

Instant photo translation

It should be understood that this option allows the translation of text written or written on a physical medium as the said medium is exposed in front of the camera of the phone. It will therefore be necessary to be tactful so that the camera captures the text well for an impeccable translation.

After choosing the “Instant” option, the camera will open in Google Translate and you will have the opportunity to point its lens towards the medium to be translated. As you can see from the images below, Google Translate automatically translates the text that appears on the screen. The text will then be visible, no longer in the original language, but in the main translation language chosen a little earlier.

Since the camera is moving (unless you are using a stable shooting stand), there is an option to freeze the translated text on the screen (time to take note, maybe !). This is the “Pause translation” option. If you click on this button and then wish to return to instant translation, you will simply have to click on “Continue translating”.

Scanning documents for translation


Google Translate can also translate photos obtained by scanning. If this option is what you need, you will simply need:

  1. Press the scanner icon, position the camera so as to capture the document to be scanned by photography, then take the photo;
  2. Manually select the text to translate on the photo taken (which is now displayed in the application). Note that as you select text, the app translates it automatically. The translated text is then displayed in the blue band at the top of the screen;
  3. Click on the arrow located at the level of the blue band to obtain a more complete view of the translated text.

Photo text translation

The third photo translation option implemented by Google Translate is the one by which it is made possible to translate text that is on a photograph or image. As seen in the image below, as soon as you tap the scan icon:

  1. You will need to authorize Google Translate access to your gallery by clicking on “Authorize”;
  2. Choose the photo or image concerned, then select the text to translate. You can use the “Select all” option;
  3. And bingo! The text is automatically translated and shown within the blue colored band. If you cannot see all of the text, feel free to click on the arrow visible on the blue ribbon.

How to export the translated text?

Now that you have successfully translated the text in your photo, you may want to export it to one of your applications. Fortunately, Google Translate not only has the “copy” option, but also the export option which allows you to transfer the translated text from the application to the destination of your choice.

Here are the steps necessary to achieve this goal:

  • Press the three dots at the bottom right of the text box to access the options;
  • Choose the “Share” option;
  • Choose the “Copy” option to save the text in your clipboard;
  • Or choose one of the apps on your phone to share the translation result.

For efficient use

Here is ! You can now use Google Translate to translate any documents, road signs, or titles just by pointing your camera at it. Keep in mind, however, that due to the fact that this is a machine translation, it is possible that some imperfections will be detected in the final result. It would therefore be very wise to always scan the translated text (well, if you understand the meaning) in order to detect any typos. Other than that, you will definitely have a great time using Google Translate.



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