How to translate a photo with the Google Translation tool?

How to translate a photo with the Google Translation tool?

Translation is a topic close to our hearts. We focused on the translator profession and saw how Amazon’s Alexa is interfering with the translation process. In addition, we recently discussed the development of live foreign language courses… The field of translation is constantly being refined and adapted to different situations. Today, we’re sharing a thought-provoking article/tutorial on why and how to translate a photo the text in a photo with the Google Translation tool. It’s a technique that can save you a lot of time in understanding some foreign messages!

Translation use cases

To begin with, it is important to understand that translation is a complex and varied field. Not only are there an impressive number of foreign languages with all the subtleties that this entails but there are more and more ways of translating them. Means that respond to different translation cases.

These translation tools, methods and procedures apply to all texts. Texts taken from books, texts from web pages, specific documents And in particular, for example, for texts taken from photos, captions, handwriting.

In fact, it is common for texts to be present in photos. Whether you are a media organisation or a company, you may be wondering how you can save time on this task.

In order to translate the text present in a photo, as indicated by, you can for example use the Google Translation tool. This tool is based on and coupled with several technologies, including Text To Speech.


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Translating the text on a photo

In concrete terms, in a professional situation, while travelling or doing research, you will regularly need a little help to decipher and understand a message written in another language. The good news is that if you « use Google Translate to find an equivalent word in a foreign language, it is possible to translate the content of an image directly » In other words, to translate the text on a photo.

Note that as of February 15, 2021, the option is available on smartphones and tablets but not yet on computers. It will therefore be interesting to monitor its development!

So, how does it work and how to do it?


Google Translation and text recognition

According to, using your phone’s camera and the free Google Translation tool, you can « translate any text instantly« . In fact, Google now masters a hundred languages and is making considerable progress. Compared to a traditional dictionary, Google Translation tool does not translate word by word. It is really a relatively global tool for text recognition and translation.

This translation tool is now capable of recognising texts even handwritten ones and translating them for you within seconds. Moreover, it can even act as an interpreter, a translatorAnd all this for free! That’s very convenient!

What’s really impressive is that as you go on your adventures, as you explore, you can simply use the camera lens on your smartphone to get a live translation of a text in your real environment. What’s more, you can even store this translation in your smartphone.

When certain situations recur, this can be particularly interesting.

However, be careful because depending on your internet connection, the quality of the translation is questionable.



How does the translation of a text from a photo work with Google Translate?

It only takes a few steps to translate the text in a photo with Google Translate.

Once you have downloaded the Google Translate application to your smartphone, you will set the source and target language. You can also let the application recognise the language by itself via the « detect language » option. Next, you press « camera ».

By default, you will be redirected to the « instant » tab, which translates the displayed messages directly. You also have the option to scansomething to translate just a piece of text. Thirdly, you can directly import a photo to get its translation.

Be aware that this process is relatively fast and efficient, but it will never be as accurate as a transcription translated with an expert eye. This type of tool does indeed process data but does not excel in the semantic subtleties, the context of the content to be translated.

Google Translation tool, Google Photos and Google Lens

The Google ecosystem with Google Translate, Google Photos and Google Lens is changing. Indeed, this option is also present directly in Google Lens, Google Photos and sometimes even directly integrated in the camera of your smartphone.

This is ideal if you don’t have access to Google Translate, are offline etc. Indeed, a recent update makes it possible to translate in real time. The only condition is that you have downloaded the foreign language packs you need beforehand.

Make sure you leave the « Translate offline » line checked for future offline use… In addition, you even have a « Lexicon » option that is useful for finding expressions, words and content in the original version.

To translate all your content, our Authôt APP and Authôt Live tools and our translation service are also just a few clicks away! Not only do we have the experience, but above all we can quickly translate large volumes of texts whatever their origin, whatever their initial file type. We save you precious time, and above all, the quality of the translation is optimal!

All in all, translating text on a photo with the Google Translation tool is clearly a technique you need to know… However, while it may be useful for a quick and specific task like this, in terms of live translation, the web giant is nowhere near the only one! Our tools and our human expert service also meet this type of need. To take advantage of this, please contact us directly!


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