How to Use your Mobile Camera as a Language Translator?

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If you are fond of travelling, language will not be a barrier now. You don’t have to choose your travel destinations according to your language knowledge. You don’t have to worry about accompanying a person who knows local language. You will no more find yourself in an awkward situation not being able to communicate in foreign language.

Thanks to Google Translate which lets you easily translate signboards, hoardings and shop names when you go to a foreign country. You can relish your food at a restaurant of your choice even if the menus are printed in a language you are not familiar with.

Google Translate is a big solution to the language problems you were facing till date. It can instantly translate words and phrases from one language to other giving you freedom from language barrier.

Google Translate uses augmented reality to look through your phone translating any text instantly. You can see the translation right on your mobile screen without having to wait even for a minute. Let us see how it works:


1. Download Google Translate Google Translate from play store if it’s not there on your mobile.

2. The first screen has

    • an input panel on the left where you can select your input language to be translated
    • an output panel on the right where you can select your output language
    • a writing area which accepts your actual text to be translated

Google Translate Screen


3. The first icon at the bottom Instant Camera is for instant translation using your mobile camera. You only have to know the language in which a signboard or a hoarding is written. Select that language in input panel, your language in output panel and take your mobile over the text. Yes… that’s it. You will see that the text is instantly translated… When I read about it for the very first time, I also could not believe that it is so simple.

Instant Camera Translation

4. If instead of this icon, your regular camera iconRegular Cameraappears on your phone, you have to take a photo, align your camera to input text and you will see the resulting text.

Google Translation


So, this is how your translation will look like.

5. Alternatively, you can turn on instant translation by tapping toggle instant translation Instant TranslationYou might be asked to download a language file. But if your language is not available for download, you can still use the regular camera.

6. You can also use the other two icons besides your camera icon i.e. mic and pencil for language translation.

Translate Buttons

  • When you tap the mic icon, you’ll be prompted to speak the phrase you want to translate. You’ll see circle expanding around the red mic to indicate that the mic is detecting your speech for possible translation. As soon as you finish speaking, you can see the translated text right on your mobile screen. In addition, the translator also speaks out the resulting translation for you. This functionality lets you to be conversant with people in other countries who do not understand your language.
  • On taping the pencil icon, a writing pad pops up where you can write freehand text and output will be your translated text. The only limitation with the pencil icon is your handwriting. The more legible you will write, the better will be translation.

Google Translator works good online but you can use it offline also. Goto Menu→Offline translation and you will see the list of downloaded languages and all available languages.

Offline Languages

Download offline translation files from the menu and this lets you to translate your text even without internet connection.

Having an amazing app right there in your pocket gives you a feel of an all-rounder. Isn’t it?

25 Responses to “How to Use your Mobile Camera as a Language Translator?”

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  13. Swati says:

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  15. Falguni Patel says:

    Woohoo.. A Very useful info.. Good to know.
    I was knowing only partial functionality but here we go..!! Now, I am aware about the feature of translator with camera phone..!!

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  21. Manisha says:

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  22. Poonam says:

    Never thought that mobile camera can be used as a translator…New world fr me …

  23. Prakhar Gandhi says:

    Very nice post. Essentially required for travellers.

  24. Nipa says:

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