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Google Translate – Features, Tips, and Tricks

The world of today has become a small village where people from diverse cultures and ethnicities regularly interact with each other. Businesses have to connect with the people of different regions and to make them understand their message better; they usually have to speak to each of their audience in their own language. This means that enterprises have to speak hundreds and sometimes thousands of languages. If conventional methods have to be used, it would take years to spread a single message to all of the target audience, but thanks to Google translate; all of this is done in a matter of minutes!

In general terms, translation, even for the linguists, is a very hectic activity because of the many complexities associated with it. Language is a human activity that is beyond the reach of general grammatical rules and it takes more than a simple set of rules to really understand what the speaker has said. Also, every language has its own way of expressing the actions, feelings, and plans. This makes the translation more difficult and no one can claim that he has done a true translation of a script from one language from the other.  In the context of recent technological advancements, humans have benefited from the technology in this field too. One can easily say that the world of translation today is mainly based on the technology that includes a variety of software and apps.

Among the most credible translation software and apps, Google translation has always stood out of the crowd since the time of its inception.  In no way, we are calling it the ultimate translation source of any type of work. However, when compared with the rest of the apps, it surely outperforms most of them.

In this article, we will cover most of the information related to the Google Translate. This will include a short history, a detailed account of the features, some important tips and tricks, and also some limitation associated with it. So let’s start with the short history of Google translator.

What is Google Translate?

It is a free translation service by Google. The service caters to many languages and covers all the major languages of the world. With this service, users can translate not only the text, but also audio, images, videos, and live streams from one language to another. An API is available with the help of which web developers can connect the service with the websites and apps. The service is available on the web as well as in the form of native Android and iOS apps. Millions of users around the world use this service to translate their work into over one hundred languages.

The Google translator was developed in the year 2006. Since then, the service has gone to many updates and upgrades.

Google Neural Machine Translation

In the year 2016, Google announced that the Google translator will now adapt the neural machine translation. This type of translations translates complete sentences in one go; contrary to the previous algorithm which translated word by word. This process helps the users in translating with more accuracy; where the translator takes into account the context around the sentences. The neural machine service was initially available for a limited number of languages in the start. However, the Google is accommodating more languages over time.

Integration With The Internet Browsers

If you have something important to translate, Google translator works flawlessly on nearly all the internet browsers. Moreover, it is available as an extension on most of them and you can run do the translation in a couple of clicks. For example, the extension for Firefox allows the users to translate a piece with a right click command. Similarly, the extension for Google chrome also works this way. Although, the translation service comes by default in chrome and offers features of automatic translation of web pages.

Mobile Applications

Although the service was mainly focused on the web users, it rapidly shifted its focus towards mobile as the majority of the internet users started to come through mobile devices. Initially, the HTML5 mobile web apps were developed, but soon, the native Android and iOS apps came to the market too.  The mobile applications are upgrading very fast and now cover over 90. In addition to text translation, Google translation apps for mobiles can translate many languages in audio, video, and real-time video modes.


Google Translate English To Spanish

In 2011, the service introduced a new mode where two speakers could converse in the real time in two different languages. Through Google Translate English to Spanish, an English person could converse with a Spanish person in real time.  The mode was later expanded to more than 10 languages.

Real-Time Text Conversion

By 2015, the service was smart enough to convert a language to another one in real time. A user could open the service in a browser and type something and the result would appear adjacent to it in real-time. Continuous updates and up gradations are making Google translate a powerful tool that gives the closest to accurate results for translations.

Camera Input Mode

Camera input mode is a recent addition to the service through which a user can snap a photograph of text and get the translation of it. This has become possible due to the integration of latest optical character recognition technology with the translation service. As this mode is quite new and employs quite a complex algorithm at the backend, the mode is available for a limited number of languages.

Google Translate API

Although the API was available as soon as Google started to offer this translation service, the company rolled it back in 2011, announcing that the translate Google API will not be available anymore. The reason Google gave was that people were misusing this app on a large scale. Due to the abuse of the service, Google was facing huge financial losses. However, only after a few months, Google announced that the API will be available once again but only as a paid service.

Even though the Google made the right decision of offering the API again, but due to the decision of disabling the API in the first place, Google had to face a lot of criticism from the users. The reason was that there were millions of third party sites using the API at that time and the decision by Google affected their business.

Google Translate Features, Tips, and Tricks

In this section, we will tell you about some of the most useful features of the Google translator. Also, we will tell you how you can avail these tips to get the most out of this app.

Pronounce The Translated Word In The Right Way

Many a time, only translating a word is not enough. You have to know how the translated word is pronounced in the other language. Google knows it and allows you to listen to the translated world so that you could know how the world is actually uttered in the native language.  Users can avail this amazing feature by simply clicking on the ‘Listen’ icon. This useful feature is available in almost all the languages supported by the translation service.

Translate Texts Present In The Image Form
This feature is available in the Google translation app for mobiles. Through this app, you can translate the text present in the form of images. As we had mentioned earlier too, the Google translation service offers the feature to translate the text that is present in the image form. There are more than one ways to translate the text in image through this service. Here are details of all the methods:

Point the Camera Towards The Text

If you have the Google Translate app on your mobile, you can easily translate any text you have in the form of a photo. Simply follow the following steps to get the desired translation:

  • Open the translation app on your device
  • Select the languages that you want the translation in between.
  • Point the camera of your device towards the photo or the image.

As soon as you point the camera towards the image, you will get the translated version of the text.

Translate From The Image

If you have a text already saved in the image form, you can easily translate it with the help of Google translation service. Follow the following steps to get the results:

  • Open the translation app
  • Choose the two translation languages
  • Select the ‘Import’ option present in the app
  • Select the image you want the translation from
  • Using the highlighter, highlight the text present in the image

After following all the steps given above, you will get the translation instantly. If you want to take a fresh picture of the text and then translate it, you will have to follow the following steps.

  • Open the translation app
  • Choose the two translation languages
  • Open the camera and take the image
  • Highlight the text sections in the image

Translate The Audio

It is another useful feature of the Google translate app which really helps the users who are not much into typing. Through this feature, a user can speak a phrase and get it translated through the Google translator. This feature is available on the web service as well on the mobile apps.  To use this feature, follow the following steps.

  • Go to the service page
  • You will see a microphone icon on the left corner of the box where the text is inserted; click on that icon.
  • When you see ‘Speak Now’, speak the words you want to translate.

Translate The Handwritten Text

This useful feature allows the users to translate the handwritten words. This feature is only available on the mobile apps and only a few languages are supported in this feature. To get a handwritten word translated, follow the following simple steps:

  • Open the Google translation app
  • Choose the two languages
  • Touch the ‘handwrite’ icon
  • A box will appear where you can write a word or a sentence that you want to translate

Translate Your Documents

The Google Translate web has one more amazing feature that lets the users translate the entire documents to other languages with just a few clicks. You can translate the documents that are in PDF, DOC, TXT, RTF, XLS, and PPT forms. Follow the given steps to translate your documents

  • Open the service page on a browser
  • Click the ‘Translate a Document’ button
  • Select the languages
  • Choose the file that you want to translate


The Phrasebook

The Google Translate Phrasebook feature allows the users to save all their translation in a single place. This feature allows them to access their translations anytime and anywhere. The phrasebook can be accessed while you are offline; this means that you do not have to depend on the internet to access your translations.  The phrasebook feature is available both as the web application as well on the mobile apps.  To use this service, follow these steps.

  • Open the Translation service
  • Do the desired translation
  • Click the ‘Star’ icon present right next to the translated text

Now you can access the translated text even if you are offline.

Limitations In the Google Translation Service

Like every other app, there are some limitations in the Google translate app that users have to bear. The first and foremost shortcoming that any user can feel while translating in different languages is that the service gives better results for some languages while for others, the results are quite ordinary. For example, if you use Google translate English to Spanish service; you will get very accurate results. But if you choose Spanish to Hindi translation service, and compare the results, you will feel that the translations don’t take into account the context and the flow of the sentences.

Not all the popular features such as audio translation and image translation are available in all the languages. This means that only a limited number of users can benefit from such useful features.


All in all, Google translate is a very useful app with amazing features to facilitate the users from around the world. With the help of this app, individuals, businesses, organizations get to interact with their target audience easily.


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