How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (2023)

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  • What is Google Translate?
  • What can Google Translate do?
  • How good is Google Translate?
  • How to use Google Translate in Google Chrome
  • How to use Google Translate in Google Search
  • Translate with your camera
  • How to use Google Translate offline
  • How to translate with Google Assistant
  • How to translate with your headphones
  • Translating hieroglyphs

Google Translate is a great tool for quickly understanding someone else's words in a language you don't speak or read. There are lots of ways you can use Google Translate on the web, on your phone and even with your smartphone camera.

So if you're looking to quickly translate text so you can understand it or so you can have a conversation who doesn't speak your mother tongue, then this is a great free tool to use.



Keep reading to find out all the different ways you can use Google Translate and how it can help you out.

What is Google Translate?

At its core Google Translate is a tool that you can use to use to translate all sorts of things in your daily life. You can access it via a dedicated website, a smartphone app, browser extensions, via Google Assistant, directly through Google Search results and more besides.

Google Translate can be used to translate a multitude of different languages. In 2022, Google announced that it was able to handle 133 different languages using its translation service. You can even download them in some instances so you can translate offline as well.

One of the biggest highlights for us is Google Translate's ability to automatically recognise languages, so if you're not even sure what it is you're trying to read you don't need to worry as Google will know.

What can Google Translate do?

Google Translate has been getting better and better over the years. The system is now able to handle the translations of many different languages in all sorts of different ways:

(Video) ✅ How To Use Google Translate 🔴
  • Basic text translation - obviously you can use Google Translate on blocks of text. If you have a sentence, paragraph or even a lot more text you can just copy and paste it into Google Translate and use the system to translate that text into your own language. It can also be used to translate entire web pages if the site you're reading doesn't offer an option in your native language already.
  • Real-time camera translation - Google Translate is able to do live translations of whatever the camera is pointing at using Google Lens. This means that you can use it to do things like quickly translate a menu at a restaurant or the street signs in a foreign country that you're visiting.
  • Real-time interpreting - Google Translate also works via Google Assistant to offer you a live interpretation of speech. If you have a Google Assistant-capable pair of earphones (like Google Buds) you can use this to understand foreign speech.
  • Photo translation - via the app you can also translate the text in images and screenshots. So you can take a photo and then get the app to translate the text for you.
  • Handwriting - Google is also able to translate handwritten text, though the success here will depend on how neat the writing is.

How good is Google Translate?

Google Translate has improved a lot over the last few years, though it's still not perfect. You won't be convincing native speakers that you're suddenly fluent in their language.

That said it doesn't necessarily use a word-for-word literal translation of the text and instead uses machine learning to provide a reasonably accurate translation of whatever you've asked it to look at.

Sometimes you'll find it hit-and-miss, other times it's brilliant. It is free to use though, so you can't complain too much whatever the results!

How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (1)

How to use Google Translate in Google Chrome

Since it's a Google product you'll be unsurprised to learn that Google Translate is available to use easily in Google Chrome. If you're on a page that's in a different language and you want to learn what the text is about simply highlight the particular text and then right-click with your mouse. On the menu that appears you can then select either Google Translate or "Translate selection to..." (your language).

Google is also clever enough to recognise when you're looking at content that's in a different language and gives you the option to translate everything that's on the page.

(Video) How to Use Google Translate - Beginner's Guide
How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (2)

At the top of the browser in the address bar, you should find a little black-and-white Google Translate icon. Click on that and it will pop up with the option to switch the language to your native language (or other chosen language). The entire page will then be displayed in the other language in the blink of an eye.

How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (3)

How to use Google Translate in Google Search

If your browser is set to default to Google as its homepage then good news as you can quickly use Google Translate directly from Google's results.

This is useful if you have some text from elsewhere that you need to translate. If it's in an email, a document or just elsewhere and you can copy and paste it then this is a quick way to do it.

Simply search for "Translate" in Google and you'll then be presented with a dialogue box to enter the text. Paste it into the left-hand box and then select the language from the drop-down and the language you want to translate to in the right drop-down.

You can then swap these around if you want to translate the other way around.

This tool is handy because you can also see both a microphone and speaker buttons in the translation boxes. If you click the mic then you can use your voice (or someone else's) to capture the language and then translate it. While the speaker button will then make Google read the translation out to you. This will give you an idea of how it sounds in the translated language and how to say it if you need to converse with someone.

How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (4)
(Video) How to use Google Translate for faster and BETTER translations


Translate with your camera

Google Translate is also integrated into Google Lens. This means you can use this app to get a live translation of whatever your smartphone camera is pointing at. In order to do this simply:

  1. Install the Google Lens app on your phone
  2. Open the app
  3. Click on the translate option
  4. Point your camera at the text you're trying to translate
  5. Watch as it translates into your native language

If you find this isn't working for some reason you can click at the top of the screen to change the language options. As standard it's set to automatically detect the language, but this might mean an error occurs with similar languages so you can click to change to the specific one you're trying to translate.

Another option is to take a photo with Google Lens and then translate the photo instead. This can be more accurate than the live translation, especially if you don't have a particularly steady hand.

How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (5)

How to use Google Translate offline

If you are worried about data usage or if you're going to be travelling to a foreign country where roaming plans are going to be costly then you might have thought about offline translations. The good news is Google makes it easy to use its app without using data if you plan ahead. You can choose to download languages to the Google Translate app so you can use them later without much fuss. To do this:

  1. Open the Google Translate app on your phone
  2. Click on the language button at the bottom of the screen
  3. On the next page select the download button next to the language you want to translate from
  4. You'll then see a warning about data usage for that download (do it over Wi-Fi if necessary)
  5. Click to download and wait for the download to happen

If you're doing this we'd also recommend downloading Google Maps data so you can use that for offline directions as well. There's nothing quite like being prepared.

(Video) Get Paid +$43.80 EVERY 30 Minutes FROM Google Translate! (Make Money Online 2023)
How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (6)

How to translate with Google Assistant

Everyone's favourite assistant (bar ChatGPT of course) is able to work as a translation tool too. With Google Assistant you can turn on interpreter mode and translate back-and-forth conversations on the fly.

Google Assistant's translation capabilities are available on Android and iOS phones as well as various different Google Assistant devices. So whether you're out and about and in need of translations or have someone in your home who you need to speak to Google is there to help.

This live interpreter translation system doesn't support as many languages as Google Translate on the web but it's still a useful tool.

To use Google Assistant to translate like this say:

  • Hey Google, be my Spanish interpreter
  • Ok Google, be my Italian interpreter
  • Hey Google turn on interpreter mode
  • or similar
How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (7)

How to translate with your headphones

As well as using Google Assistant to translate it's also possible to use your headphones assuming they're Google Assistant capable. The most obvious choice here is the Google Pixel Buds but other earphones will work too. Obviously, this requires a mic in the headphones so Google Assistant can hear you talk and the other speaker as well.

To do this:

  1. Pop your headphones in and make sure they're connected and turned on
  2. Launch Google Assistant via the command
  3. Then say "help me interpret French" (or a similar command relevant to the language you're translating)
  4. Start talking

You may also have controls to simply press and hold the headphones to activate conversation mode. You'll then need to tap the other language button when you're ready to listen to the language and have it translated. Watch the video above to see an example of this in action.

How to use Google Translate in various useful ways (8)


(Video) Google Translate in Google Sheets 101 (Google Translate Formula)

Translating hieroglyphs

Ok, this one isn't technically via Google Translate (yet) but Google has made it possible to use a tool to translate ancient hieroglyphs.

Fabricius, as it is known, is a tool that's been trained by machine learning to recognise the ancient Egyptian language and can translate it into English. It's not perfect, but it's a great demo of how technology can help us access other languages, even long-forgotten ones.


How do I use Google Translate effectively? ›

Check out the tips below to help you get started with Google Translate.
  1. Download languages to use on-the-go. You can download languages onto your device. ...
  2. Translate what you find through your camera. ...
  3. Translate a conversation. ...
  4. Save favorite words & phrases. ...
  5. Tap to translate in other apps.

How do I make Google Translate everything? ›

Manage list of always-translated languages
  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More Settings.
  3. At the left, click Languages.
  4. Under 'Google Translate', click Automatically translate these languages.
  5. Click Add languages.
  6. Select the languages that you want to add.
  7. Click Add.

What are the pros and cons of using Google Translate? ›

  • Google Translate is fast. ...
  • Google Translate is free. ...
  • Google Translate is convenient. ...
  • It's not ideal for confidential documents. ...
  • Google Translate cannot provide a perfectly accurate translation. ...
  • There is no proofreading. ...
  • It requires Internet connection to use Google Translate.
Nov 22, 2017

How do I use Google Translate in a conversation? ›

Step 1: Start translation
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Translate app .
  2. Choose your languages. At the bottom left and bottom right: Tap the languages shown. Tap the languages each of you speak.
  3. Tap Conversation .

What is Google Translate best used for? ›

Google Translate breaks down communication barriers by offering numerous ways to translate languages. For Android and iOS users, the Google Translate app is the best way to communicate on the go. Google Translate works with text, voice, or image inputs.

What is the advantage of using Google Translate? ›

Google Translate is quick.

One of the main advantages of Google Translate is that it is very fast. In fact, a human translator(s) cannot compete with the speed nor, as a result, the quantity of translations that Google Translate is able to perform.

Why does Google Translate not always work? ›

If your Google auto-translate is not working, it may be due to the following reasons: Faulty language settings. Inappropriate settings configuration. Third-party extensions.

Is Google translation always correct? ›

A 2021 study conducted by the UCLA Medical Center found that Google Translate preserved the overall meaning for 82.5% of the translations. But the accuracy between languages spanned 55% to 94%. Sometimes, Google Translate's precision is shockingly good.

Why doesn t Google always translate? ›

Try refreshing the webpage. If you still can't tap Translate, the language might not be available for translation. If you don't find a Translate notification at the top of your screen, you can request a translation. Tip: If you want to translate a language from your list, tap the language and select Offer to translate.

What is a better option than Google Translate? ›

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 .

What are drawbacks of Google Translate? ›

What are the disadvantages of Google Translate? As an online translation tool, i.e., a machine, it can only translate automatically and mechanically. In other words, it is designed to translate but not to interpret.

What mistakes does Google Translate make? ›

Truth be told, the most significant problems came up when translating languages with utterly different word order. With a statistical model, Google had no way of understanding how to turn the sentence structure around. (Remember, german students: the verb always goes at the end).

Which algorithm is used in Google Translate? ›

In November 2016, Google Neural Machine Translation system (GNMT) was introduced. Since then, Google Translate began using neural machine translation (NMT) in preference to its previous statistical methods (SMT) which had been used since October 2007, with its proprietary, in-house SMT technology.

What is the first thing you do to use Google Translate? ›

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.

What is more reliable than Google Translate? ›

DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator.

Why is it important to translate correctly? ›

Translation is necessary for the spreading new information, knowledge, and ideas across the world. It is absolutely necessary to achieve effective communication between different cultures. In the process of spreading new information, translation is something that can change history.

What language can Google Translate not understand? ›

Mayan Languages

More than 6 million people in Mesoamerica and Central America speak a Mayan language as their first language. K'iche', the most widely spoken Mayan language, has an estimated 2.3 million native speakers, mostly in Guatemala. Currently, no Mayan languages are available in Google Translate.

How do I improve Google Translate? ›

To improve your language, you can assess or suggest changes to translations in Google Translate.
  1. Click to assess the translation, or choose Suggest an edit.
  2. Enter a new translation in the text box.
  3. Click Submit.

Why not to trust Google Translate? ›

Some companies have found that their confidential data was published online after they had used online translation tools to translate company data. Bugs can happen with machine learning and machine translation tools.

What is the most accurate language on Google Translate? ›

Some of the most accurate translations are the Spanish-English language pair. Even translations between these languages are not at the level for use by a business. Other languages have a lower level of accuracy. Some of these include Chinese, German, and Portuguese.

Which is better DeepL or Google Translate? ›

DeepL is generally rated as having higher-quality translations, along with options to choose between formal and informal tones. So if you want the most accurate and natural-sounding translations, DeepL is usually the best option. Google Translate (and other services) are cheaper than DeepL.

What language is Google Translate best at? ›

How accurate is Google Translate?
Spanish94% accurate
Korean82.5% accurate
Mandarin Chinese81.7% accurate
Farsi67.5% accurate
Armenian55% accurate
Oct 6, 2022

Is Google Translate going away? ›

On December 4, 2019 Google discontinued its popular Google Translate Widget. The widget can no longer be added to new sites. It is currently still available for websites that already have it installed.

How do I force Google to translate a page? ›

Translate webpages in Chrome
  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. Go to a webpage written in another language.
  3. On the right of the address bar, click Translate .
  4. Click on your preferred language.
  5. Chrome will translate your current webpage.

What are 3 alternatives to Google Translate? ›

We have compiled a list of solutions that reviewers voted as the best overall alternatives and competitors to Google Translate, including Microsoft Translator, Yandex. Translate, Amazon Translate, and IBM Watson Language Translator.

Which is the best free translate app? ›

Top ten free translation apps
  • SayHi free translation app for iPhone and Android. ...
  • Naver Papago free translation app for Android and iPhone. ...
  • Trip Lingo free translation app for iPhone and Android. ...
  • iTranslate free translation app for Android and iPhone. ...
  • Dictionary Linguee free translation app for iPhone and Android.

How much does Google Translate cost? ›

Pricing details

Google Translate is a free translation tool.

What can go wrong in translation? ›

Errors during translation elongation that result in incorporation of an incorrect amino acid, frameshifting (see Glossary), readthrough of stop codons, or premature termination can produce proteins that deviate from the encoded amino acid sequence.

Can teachers tell if you use Google Translate? ›

Can Teachers Tell When You Have Used Google Translate? Indeed, instructors will detect if you utilized google translate since it is not grammar-oriented, and the translated material may vary from your writing style. Some instructors will be able to detect whether you utilized Google Translate, while others will not.

What are some cons of using an online translator? ›

The disadvantages of machine translation
  • Level of accuracy can be very low.
  • Accuracy is also very inconsistent across different languages.
  • Machines can't translate context.
  • Mistakes are sometimes costly.
  • Sometimes translation simply doesn't work.
Mar 22, 2016

Who is better Siri or Google Translator? ›

Google Translate users can either speak or type their content into the app and then a translation is given, however Siri only translates spoken content at the moment which could be problematic for users who want to translate larger volumes of content or if they are in a situation where they cannot speak out loud.

What is the hardest language for Google to translate? ›

Italian and German are the hardest languages for Google to translate.

Can Google Translate automatically translate? ›

Click the translate icon whenever you want to translate the page you're visiting. The extension also automatically detects if the language of a page you're on is different from the language you're using for your Google Chrome interface.

Why is Google Translate blocked? ›

If you are on a work network they may block certain site, and some geographic areas may block certain sites. is up and available. Go to Chrome Extensions and disable them all in case one of those is blocking your access: chrome://extensions/ Try Chrome in incognito mode (Ctrl+Sht+N)

What is the Google translation technique? ›

Google Translate recognises the text from the image using optical character recognition (OCR) technology and gives the translation. Camera input is not available for all languages.

What is Google key for translation? ›

The Google Translate API key allows you to connect with the same machine learning that Google uses in its search engine and in Gmail when it encounters text in another language than yours.

Does Google Translate have AI? ›

AI has helped power some of our biggest advancements in translation in the years since we've launched Google Translate. Today, we're launching even more AI-powered features to provide helpful and contextual awareness when using Translate on mobile and the web.

Is there anything more accurate than Google Translate? ›

DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator.

Does Google Translate help you learn? ›

For language learning, Google Translate is neither a blessing, nor a curse. Rather, it is just a tool that when used correctly, can help you quickly find decent-quality translations between two languages.

What are 5 tips to translate correctly? ›

Keep reading to learn 7 essential tips for translating your materials to and from English.
  • Keep thoughts brief. ...
  • Set a standard vocabulary. ...
  • Skip the jokes. ...
  • Understand the language and cultural differences. ...
  • Make it active. ...
  • Get your dates right. ...
  • Check your spacing.

Does Google Translate give you the right answer? ›

Well, the short answer is this: 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 options are better 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.

Is Google Translate 100% right? ›

A 2021 study conducted by the UCLA Medical Center found that Google Translate preserved the overall meaning for 82.5% of the translations. But the accuracy between languages spanned 55% to 94%. Sometimes, Google Translate's precision is shockingly good.

Which country uses Google Translate the most? ›

Brazil uses Google Translate more than any other country.

Ninety-two percent of our translations come from outside of the United States, with Brazil topping the list.

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

What language is hardest for Google Translate? ›

Japanese. Japanese is a complicated language to translate into English. Arguably, it's the hardest common language.

Why is DeepL so much better than Google Translate? ›

DeepL is generally rated as having higher-quality translations, along with options to choose between formal and informal tones. So if you want the most accurate and natural-sounding translations, DeepL is usually the best option. Google Translate (and other services) are cheaper than DeepL.


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