a step-by-step guide to using google translate

Google Translate can be a game changer when planning travel to a foreign country. I’ll illustrate here all of the features of Google Translate and explain what they do so that you can take full advantage of these travel planning tools

a step-by-step guide to using google translate

1- Google Translate Desktop Version

I couldn’t even begin to plan international travel to nonspeaking English countries without Google Translate for desktop. It really is a game changer. I can navigate the web, select websites in any language, and with the click of a button Google will translate the text into English, wonderful…magical!

Here’s how to use Google Translate for Desktop

  • Then, select a language.

Here are some of the languages the desktop version will translate for you: Simply click the caret icon (circled in red) to view the full list, or select “detect language” if you’re unsure.

different languages available in google translate and how to select your language in google translate for desktop computers
  • Now, select either voice or text translation. Let’s give it a try. I’ll show you how to use both.

How to use voice translation on Google Translate:
Here’s a video that shows how. Pardon my abrupt/clipped German, but you really have to enunciate with this feature if you want accurate results.

See it in action on my youtube channel!

How to use text translation on Google Translate:


It’s pretty simple, type in the text you want to translate and let it go to work.

see it in action on my youtube channel!

Google Translate can help with pronunciation too.

You’ll get your results in text format, but if you want to hear results spoken out loud or wonder if your pronunciation is correct, just tap on that “listen” icon, seen below in red:

listen pronunciation function of google translate for desktop computers

You can translate an entire document at one time:


Image the things you can do with these tools!

see it in action on my youtube channel!

The desktop version doesn’t work with jpeg (photos), but the phone version will so let’s move on to that.

2- How to use Google Translate App for Mobile devices

Use the Google Translate App for your phone wherever you have cell service, wi-fi, or download offline translation of your chosen language!!! I recently downloaded Spanish for offline translation and in a few instances could not have gotten by without it!
First you’ll need to download the Google Translate App onto your phone. Below you’ll find an image of what you’ll see when you open the app. As you can see there is a “pen” option that allows you to enter text. The “microphone” is for translating spoken word.

how to use google translate for mobile cell phones

There are 6 main things that you can do with the app that I want to discuss. Let’s review them now.

#1 Translate Text: How to use the text translation option on the google translate app

I have typed “where are you” into the box, and here are my results:

translate text with google translate for mobile cell phones

#2 Translate spoken word: How to use the spoken word feature of the Google Translate app

Select the microphone instead of the pen and start talking! It’s that easy!

translate spoken word with google translate for mobile cell phones

#3 Use your phone camera to translate images: How to use the Google Translate app to translate signs, menus, documents…etc!!!


So, I have this sign that I would like to translate:

use your phone camera to translate images with google translate for mobile cell phones

Rather than typing in this entire thing, or having to try and read it out loud into the phone, Google Translate makes translating written text super easy. Simply choose the camera option:

cameral function of google translate for mobile cell phones

Now, hover your phone over the sign and presto! translated! (notice the “instant” option in blue is selected.) Here are my “instant” results:

instant translation results with google translate instant function for mobile cell phones

Also, take note of the “scan” option pictured above.

#4 Scan images of text: Let’s talk about how to use the “scan” option in the Google Translate app.

  • Again, hover your phone camera over the text you want to translate.
  • Select “scan”

you’ll get something that looks like this:

scan images for translation with google translate for mobile cell phones

Now either choose “select all” or do as it says and highlight the text that you would like to translate with your finger (finger highlighting seen below:)

how to use google translate for mobile cell phones

select the continue arrow (circled in red below:)

Here are my results:

translation results google translate for mobile cell phones

The conversation feature is one of my favorite things that Google Translate can do, and it will likely be one of yours too!

#5 Translate a conversation: How to use the conversation feature for the Google Translate app!

This gives you the ability to translate an entire conversation. So handy! It’s self explanatory…give it a try!
Here’s what it looks like:

how to use the conversation feature of google translate for mobile cell phones

#6 Transcribe-How to use the Google Translate app to transcribe audio


The app explains a bit about this feature: “You’ll get real-time translations and hear speech output in your language!” How cool is that?
Find it here on your home screen (circled in red below,) select it, select the blue flashing microphone and go!

how to use the transcribe feature of google translate for mobile cell phones

You can access even more features of the google translate app:

click on that little drop down menu bar

more features of google translate for mobile cell phones

Here is what you will find: save phrases into your “phrasebook”, save transcripts, download for “offline translation” (if your headed to a foreign country definitely download the app for offline translation. You’ll thank me for it later.)

I hope that I’ve been able to help you have a better understanding of how you can use Google Translate to open up the world so you can make your travel dreams become a reality.

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