How to Quickly Translate Text With Google Translate on iOS

A book in a foreign language.

Despite the global population growing year on year, we’re more connected than ever to almost anyone else on the planet. We have the Internet to thank for this, of course, but there are still language barriers to contend with. Learning how to quickly translate text with Google Translate can help.

This post looks at how to translate text quickly with Google Translate. We’re showing iOS here, but transposing the guidance to Android should be straightforward.

A Brief Introduction to Google Translate

Before we get into the translation process, let’s discuss Google Translate itself. It’s a neural machine translation service that’s offered for free by the search engine giant.

The Google Translate app.

It’s been around since 2006, and unlike other (older) services, such as Babelfish, it first used documents from the European Parliament and United Nations to gather the necessary linguistic data.

Under the hood, it takes the original language, converts it to English, then translates it to the target language. It focuses on patterns in its linguistic database to provide the translations.

Like many similar services, the accuracy of Google Translate has been poor in some cases. Simple sentences with basic structure can lead to accurate results. Though, if a sentence contains words unknown to the database in a complex structure, the quality of the translation varies. Also, translating single words is one of the least accurate ways to use Google Translate.

How to Quickly Translate Text With Google Translate on iOS

Despite the drawbacks, Google Translate is a handy way to grok a sentence presented in another language. Granted, it’s not going to be used in a professional capacity, but for quick translations while on the move, the mobile apps will be perfect.

The first step is to download the iOS app if you haven’t done so before. You can download it like any other – from the App Store – and it’s also free.

The Google Translate app for iOS.

Once you open the app, you’ll be given a few options. The fastest way to translate is to click the Camera button and point your device at the text.

The Google Translate app screen.

This will translate the words in real time. First, it will overlay the original language in an app-specific font.

Converting text in Google Translate.

Then it will translate it into your desired language.

Translated real-time text in Google Translate.

Of course, you’re also able to copy and paste text from the Web. For example, if there’s a phrase you’d like to translate, highlight it and copy as usual.

Highlighting an Italian phrase on the web.

When you go back to the app, there will be a new Paste option.

The Past button in Google Translate.

If you click this, Google Translate will do its thing and show you the translated text.

A translated phrase in Google Translate.

Regardless of your approach, using Google Translate to read simple phrases in your chosen language is a breeze – especially the real-time camera translation.

In Summary

Translation services have been with us since the dawn of the Internet. While the quality of translations has been low in most cases, Google Translate has tried to apply deep learning and neural concepts to its own output. For simple situations, especially on iOS and Android, it can do a great job. In short, it’s a good tool to have while traveling in a foreign country, and quick translations will have you pulling the app out on a regular basis.

We’ve looked at some power uses for the Google Translate app before, so check that article out to up your translation game. Are you a user of Google Translate, and if so, what’s your favorite way to use it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tom Rankin
Tom Rankin

Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he's not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.

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