Google Translate is one of the most powerful learning tools out there.  I think you can travel to anywhere in the world without worrying about how to communicate with people. I went to Madrid without knowing a single Spanish word. The first day that I got there, I went to the grocery store and by mistake I bought baking powder instead of salt. I had used Google Translate before for translating documents but that was the beginning of my adventure with Google translate speech and snap features.

Thanks to amazing features of Google Translate, I was able to communicate with people and travel across Spain by using Google translate features and I learned basic Spanish words and phrases that I needed for my trip. I used Google Translate to read food labels when I was grocery shopping. I used real time feature when I was trying to buy train tickets to Valencia, looking for bathroom,  and ordering vegetarian tapas. Once I came back from the trip, I decided to write a blog on how to use  Google translate to learn a language. Here are 7  useful features you should be using if you’re not already.

After reading this blog, translate a couple of sentences in form of audio and text from English to a language that you know well. Then answer the following questions:

1. Is Google translate good for language learning?

2. What are some problems with google translate?

3. What are some advanced features of Google Translate?

Here are 7  useful features you should be using if you’re not already.

1. Learn how to pronounce words

This feature lets you hear how a word you’ve never seen before is supposed to sound.

How to do it:

  1. Open Google Translate on your web browser
  2. Type in the word or phrase you want to know how to translate
  3. Click on the little speaker icon
  4. Repeat the word or phrase out loud. If it’s long, you can also try shadowing.
  1. Translate text in images

2. Use your camera to translate Text in images on the fly

For me, this is probably the coolest feature. You can take a photo of anything and Google will translate any text from the image for you. I’ve used this several times for menus in Brazil and it has worked really well.

Keep in mind that, for this one, you need to use the Google Translate app on your phone.

How to do it:

  1. Download the Google Translate app to your Apple or Android device.
  2. Click the camera icon.
  3. Take a photo of the thing you’d like to translate.
  4. Click “Scan”.

Watch the video below for a tutorial.

3.Translate Voice and Conversation

you can translate an entire conversation with someone. It’s like Google acts as an interpreter. this can be useful if you’re traveling somewhere where you don’t have any language in common. For example, I used the conversation feature when I was traveling through Spain . I spoke no Spanish. This helped us communicate.

How to do it:

  1. Open Google Translate on your phone.
  2. Click the “Conversation” icon with two microphones.
  3. Speak into your microphone. Google will playback the translated version.
  4. Then your partner can also speak into the microphone, and you will hear their version.

Here’s a video with detailed instructions on how to use it. 

4. Translate by handwriting

Here’s a video with detailed instructions on how to handwrite a passage and translate it.

5. Translate documents

With a Google Translate extension for Google Chrome (and Firefox), you can easily get a translation for any word you see on a webpage while you’re browsing the Internet. Just highlight the word and translate it without navigating to another page.

How to do it:

  1. Download the Google Translate browser extension.
  2. Find a phrase or word you’d like to translate.
  3. Highlight the word.
  4. Click the translate icon.

6. Save your translations in the phrasebook

You can save your favourite phrases in the app or on the web. This is great for when you see something you want to remember but don’t necessarily have time to write it down.

How to do it:

  1. Translate something in your web browser or on the phone app.
  2. Click the little star beside the translation to save it.
  3. To see the phrases you’ve saved, click the “Saved” button.

7. Transcribe and translate in real-time

Google Translate allows you to speak in your native language, and it will translate what you say to another language and write that down. It is basically a talk-to-text translator. This feature might be really convenient if you’re writing an email or a text message to someone. Instead of typing it out, you can just say what you want to say out loud, in your own language. Google will translate it and turn it into text.

How to do it:

  1. Make sure you have the newest version of Google Translate.
  2. Choose the language you wish to speak and the language that Google Translate will transcribe to.
  3. Tap the “transcribe” button.
  4. Speak in the first language, and watch it transcribe to the second language.

Here’s a video with detailed instructions on how to use it.

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