The travellers saviour: Google Translate using your phone camera

Google might be amazing at search, but there are some capabilities they have created for us all which are hardly ever spoken about – and they are amazing.  Google Translate is one such service, but it’s a whole lot more than just their type and translate service – it can translate menu’s for you in restaurants or even street signs.

Online, the Google Translate website is a great way to copy and paste text from other languages and have them translated into English.  Likewise if you’re using the Google Chrome browser and visit a website in a Langauge other than English, it may prompt you to translate the page right in front of your eyes.

The voice recognition and image recognition functions though – these are fantastic.

You can speak into the phone, and have it translate for you in real-time and then “speak” the phrase in the chosen language.

Speak into the phone to have it recognise your words, then translate and read out the translation

Speak into the phone to have it recognise your words, then translate and read out the translation

On an Android phone, the Translate app has one key feature missing from the iPhone version which I think is mind-blowing.

Point the phone’s camera at some text in another language, it will then “scan” the text.


Once it finds some text, the words are slightly highlighted.  You wipe your finger over the specific words or paragraphs you want translated.


You get a mini preview at the top of the window, and then a simple click to read the whole text.


It works very very well – even on smaller print from a newspaper


And across a range of fonts


Your phone will need to be online at the time, so roaming data or WiFi will be the connection method, however, for what this offers you’re going to be happy to roam.

So simple, so effective, so very Google.

Another tick for Android.


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