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Google translate - photo 'magic'

I've had the Google translate app for some time, but this trip I discovered its camera mode and, ever since, we have been marveling over the real time translation when viewed through the camera. Just point the camera at something (say, a box of milk or jar of jam - or some befuddling park sign) and see the words morph into the target language right before our eyes. (We are careful to NOT be doing this while the locals are hurriedly trying to do their grocery shopping!)

Yes, you can still snap a photo of the sign or label and perform the standard text-mode translation, but this new (to me) photo mode is just magical. Do not actually snap the photo -- you will see the scene live on your screen but the words (mostly) change as if reprinted on the object.

Sure it can be a little quirky but for languages such as we've encountered in Prague and, now, Budapest, this has been a real help. In Spain the app even suggested that we were seeing a sign that used Catalan rather than Spanish.

Be sure to download your area's language when you're on Wifi and you'll be good to go -- NO cell data usage for this when used while you're out and about.

Posted by
440 posts

I have just read this and used it on my work ID i had no idea you could use this function what a brilliant idea, no more confusion in restaurants from now on. Thank you

Posted by
408 posts

We just returned from our second trip to a Budapest grocery store. It was quiet so we had a bit more time to experiment without bothering 'real' shoppers. If the font is at all fancy ("marketing") then the results are not as good. Sometimes viewing the shelf tag gave better results. The soup aisle was especially challenging. For that, the ingredients on the back gave better results.

Posted by
941 posts

Thank you. I didn't know Google Translate could do photos. I now have it turned on. It will so handy.

Posted by
703 posts

the app 'word lens' has been able to do this for years. and I think it was 'bought out' by google to be added to translate.

Posted by
955 posts

I'd love to use this but how do you turn it on? I just looked at the app and couldn't figure it out so help please? Thanks in advance!

Posted by
8906 posts

On the main screen of the app press the camera icon. It will then go into camera mode, simply point the phone at some text on something and the app will instantly translate the words in real time instantly. It's very cool and and futuristic:) The instant translating will only work with western alphabets. If you need to translate other scripts like Mandarin or Japanese you need to take a "picture" what you need translated and the app will take a minute or so to analyze the text and then give you a translation.

Posted by
941 posts

Claudette,
You may have to go into Settings to turn on the camera translate. I'm kind of technophobic. If you are too and using an iPhone, go to settings, scroll down to apps, on down to translate, open translate, then you'll see where to turn on both the mic and camera.
Kathy

Posted by
3372 posts

Thank you, Keri, for this tip! We just downloaded the app on both of our phones and are walking through our house "translating" the photos!

Posted by
10 posts

Wow, I just downloaded this app! That's pretty amazing. Going to be ultra helpful for Poland and Czech Republic this summer... Dang I wish I'd had it in China!

Posted by
330 posts

Discovered google translate last week and stunbled on the photo capabilities. Very cool

Translate cost RS a few bucks as i was about to spring for his Italy translation book. This will be perfect

Posted by
208 posts

WOOooooo HOOOOoooo!!!! THANK you!!! That is soooooo cool. hehehe.

Posted by
326 posts

Thank you for the info! I'm excited to try it in Spain next month.

Posted by
17 posts

Google Translate is def an amazing app but I also like TripLingo and Waygo! :) Waygo is a good choice for someone traveling in Asia, because it's specially designed for dealing with Asian characters. And it doesn't require the internet connection ;) I saw this article a few days ago, so have a look at it if you need more options. It speaks about 8 best translate apps, like Google Translate, Waygo, TripLingo, PONS, iTranslate, etc. :D
https://www.1and1.co.uk/digitalguide/online-marketing/web-analytics/the-best-translation-apps-for-android-and-ios/