Top Lesser-Known Google Translate Tricks

Even people who have never heard of machine translation have often heard of Google Translate — because it makes communication easier. Sure, it makes mistakes sometimes. If you write an entry in a specific dialect, the app will probably translate it wrong. Some of the mistakes are downright ridiculous. 

But let’s be honest: the app works well most of the time, and it can even work for learning a new language. So here are some Google Translate tricks to try.

Use Offline Google Translation

Most people know how to use the service when they are connected to the internet. But what if you’re traveling and you’re not connected 24/7? The Google Translate app gives you an option for offline use. This requires some brief preparation, during which you will need an internet connection. 

  • In the settings menu, you’ll see the “Offline translation” option. Tap on it.
  • You’ll see a list of languages that are available for this option. Download the software for the language that you need. Don’t download them all, since the app would consume too much space on your device. Each language package weighs 35+ MB. 
  • Wait for the language package to download. 

Let the Google Translate App Replace a Dictionary

You understand the text you read or the things you hear? Maybe a single word or phrase confuses you. Instead of using an individual dictionary app, you can rely on a translation. Google’s app will give you a translation, and an explanation of the word as well. It’s just what a dictionary app would do. 

Translate Highlighted Text from an Image

This is another cool trick that you can use when traveling. You can snap a photo, and the Google Translate app will translate the text on it. That’s useful when you want to understand menus, street signs, or any other text without typing it. 

  • In the app’s home screen, you’ll notice a camera icon on the left side. 
  • The app will ask for language settings. Set the source language on the left, and the output on the right. 
  • The app will prompt you to take a Google Translate picture. Snap it!
  • You’ll need to highlight the area with text that you want to be translated. To see what it means, press the blue arrow. That’s how you use the Google Translate camera feature.

Explore Recipes from Around the World

This one gets a little creative, but are you trying to improve your kitchen skills? Here’s something that will motivate you: focus on a foreign food culture each month. This month, you can learn about Persian cuisine and cook some of its recipes. Next month, you’ll explore Greek cuisine. Then you’ll proceed with France, Italy, Honduras… be creative! Google Translate could help you find authentic recipes. Instead of searching for recipes in your native language, explore them in their native language. It’s how you’ll get to the source of the food culture. 

The Internet is full of food blogs in all languages. Translate the pages and you’ll have the original recipes at your fingertips. 

Use Google Translate in Conversation Mode

When you’re trying to make conversation with someone who speaks a foreign language, you can use the Google Translate audio feature. As participants in the conversation speak, the app will detect their voices through the microphone, and it will give you a translation in the chosen language: 

  • The home screen of your app gives you a “conversation mode” feature with a microphone icon. Tap on it. 
  • The app is ready for listening. Just hold the device’s microphone close when you speak. Then, let the app speak in the chosen language. Switch the languages when your partner responds.  

Use Google Translate for Research

When you engage in deep research, it’s best to look into the direct sources of information. Let’s say you’re discussing World War II in a research paper. Wouldn’t it be great to access original German documents? When looking through resources in your native language, this information will be briefly mentioned. If you want to deepen your research, use Google Translate on news articles, research studies, and academic texts in a language that’s relevant to your topic.  

Use Google Translate for TikTok and Other Video Voiceovers

Want to add something to your TikTok videos? Google Translate has a speech function, albeit a robotic one. Use the app or the desktop tool to translate the text you need. Then, click/tap on the audio icon to hear the speech. This is a cool trick for making videos of speaking pets, for example. The robotic voiceover makes them unique and fun.

Create a Personal Dictionary through the App

Did you know that you can save your favorite words and phrases? Maybe you find yourself repeatedly translating a particular word. You can save it in your personal dictionary. Maybe you found a cool phrase you want to remember. Save it, too:

  • You’ll notice a star symbol next to the translation that you get. Tap on it, and you’ll immediately add it to your Saved list. 
  • To view the entries you saved, look for the Saved button at the bottom of the device’s screen. 


James Dorian
James Dorian is a technical copywriter. He is a tech geek who enjoys reading and writing on technology, business, and ways to become a real pro in our modern world of innovations. You can also check out one of his articles on how to use TikTok.


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