Google Translation: the Essential Tips for Better Communication

Google translate pack

Maj. June 13, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Google Translation is a great help when it comes to communicating with a foreign culture. By reducing language barriers, translation promotes exchange. In order to get closer to cultures that are sometimes too far apart, discover how to master Google’s translation tool like a pro thanks to all our tips.

google translation

The first advantage of Google Translation is that it is free. A universal tool open to everyone, so that one person can open up to the other. By what means? By translating a source text that you do not understand into a target text transcribed into your native language. Without further ado, find out everything you need to know to better communicate with Google Translation.

Basic Google Translation Features

Google keyboard translate

As some will remember, the early consumer electronic translators were not necessarily the most efficient, or at least the most intuitive. Often you had to be extra careful not to be offered a fake friend. Because this is one of the biggest worries of automatic translators: the linguistic traps. False friends, innuendo, double meanings… the Achilles’ heel of computer systems.

Google English to Japanese Translation

Thus, even today, the translator of flesh and bone remains irreplaceable because these subtleties represent parameters that are difficult to model and cause this kind of misunderstanding. Of course, CAT (computer-assisted translation) software is still developing at a very fast pace; a bad thing for the profession, which is gradually being taken over, but a good thing for the universalization of a message or information across multiple cultures.

In Google Translation, by clicking on one of the translated words (in the right frame), you will access a drop-down menu giving you the choice between different alternatives. As several words or groups of words can express what you want to say, different alternatives will be proposed to you. Moreover, by clicking once more, you will be able to make your correction if you have spotted an inconsistency. There is only one condition: a good command of the target language.

In fact, Google Translation goes even further than text transcription since it also offers phonetic reading. He knows to recognizelanguages, deciphers Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, Thai, Japanese characters,… All this while managing to present a meaning that can be deciphered by the greatest number of people, which is the main mission of translation.

  • Tip: To manage the speed of voice playback, click the speaker icon repeatedly.
  • Attention: While Google Translation is continuously improving and supports many languages, some of them can cause problems, especially if you don’t really master the target language.

In such situations, it is always advisable not to take Google Translation literally. To be sure of the meaning obtained after translation, do not hesitate to translate this result into your native language to make sure that the initial meaning of your query has been respected.

Using Google Trad from the search engine


Over time, the Google search engine has evolved to directly take into account all the services it offers. As we often have Google as the default search engine of our browser, we can go even faster to find vocabulary we are missing.

All you have to do is search for a word, followed by the keyword “translation”. From then on, the engine will recognize the word in question by itself, and give you the translation in the language in which you use the search engine. In the middle of writing a file, or for minor memory loss, it is a considerable time saver.

Translation of web pages

machine translation
Translating web pages is not necessarily a reflex that one has at first sight. As soon as you come across a page written in a foreign language, Google Chrome is supposed to offer you a systematic way to translate that page.

If this is not the case, perhaps you have not yet properly defined your search and results display parameters. For example, go to:Chrome://settings/addlanguage

setting google translation Chrome

From there, you will be able to define which languages should be considered by Chrome and which actions the browser should offer you. In this case, translate the original display of the page into the language of your choice, as in this example.

google translation

google translation

  • Tip: you can also directly enter the url of a page in the left field of Google Translation. In the right field should appear a new link leading to a translated version of the site.

url translation

Google Input Tools

Or Google InputTools in English. In the field of translation and adaptation to a foreign culture, the Mountain View firm has developed the possibility of arranging your research as well as possible through fields related to other countries.

Google Input Tools

Available in more than 20 languages, transliteration is now integrated into Google Translate. It allows you to find the equivalent of the letters you enter in the target language. This will allow a better indexing in relation to the lexicon of the target language, an easier translation and therefore a better understanding for your interlocutor.

Google Input Tools

Travelling with Google Translation

Language packs

Google translate pack

If you’re used to using Google Translation from your Wi-Fi enabled phone, then you probably didn’t realize how limited the languages built into the application actually are. Indeed, under a stable connection, the application relies primarily on the database of the web service.

Therefore, when you find yourself for example abroad or in the street with very little data to spend (it happens too often), you realize that it would have been wiser to store more informationin your mobile application.

Luckily, the application has an offline mode allowing you to download its languages locally. Typically weighing in at 200 MB, these packs will allow Google Translate to support newlanguages. They will thus be able to give you all their support during your travels abroad for example.

The Google Voice Wizard Translation

Having the language pack is a good thing, however, if you don’t have Internet data, you won’t have access to voice assistance, pronunciation assistance, let alone audio playback of your translation. You will be able to cope with texts in the Latin alphabet, but texts in Cyrillic, Arabic, Hindi or Japanese may be more difficult.

All the more so as Google Translation now has a conversation mode that will translate your conversation partner and yourself live so that you and your partner can simply talk to each other abroad. Google Translation Live keeps getting better and better to become truly powerful, as can be seen on the Pixel Buds, the headphones that translate in real time up to 40 languages.

  • Tip: in these situations, you can – if your budget allows – purchase a small portable Wi-Fi router. With the help of a small backup data package, this should provide you with additional insurance in case you are unable to communicate.

Also, in some countries, you may want to consider getting additional applications such as dictionaries and lexicons. In some cultures, your interlocutors will be reluctant to communicate with your smartphone (for reasons of hygiene, especially with all the germs that wander around on it).

Handwritten translation

Note that with the mobile application for smartphone or tablet, handwriting is another quite practical solution that will consist in using all the usefulness of the touch panel to write your text to be translated or even. The whole point of such a function lies in the reproduction of signs specific to foreign languages using, for example, Japanese kanji, sinograms, etc. This can be activated by clicking on the icon at the bottom left of the mobile application screen.

Visual translation

Live voice translation is already very useful, but you can now also translate a poster directly with Google Translation with the camera. Especially handy when you don’t understand the menu you are being handed! By clicking on the Camera icon at the bottom left of your screen, you will access the visual media translation service.

Once the Google Translate photo application is launched, you will only have to pass a text in front of the lens to get a summary translation displayed in real time. Depending on your point of view and the richness of the text, the quality of the translation will be more or less good.

Here, for example, the text probably contained too many words to obtain a usable version. Nevertheless, we can see that the beginning of an idea is there, but it’s not there yet.

Take a picture of the text you want to translate and then select the area you want to understand. The analysis of the text will be more in-depth and the target text, after this step, will have a stronger coherence. The selected text will finally appear to you like this.

Once again, the translation is far from perfect, but the interpretation that we make of it still brings out the deep meaning of the original text. This is a real practical step forward that is managed in 27 languages by Google Translation.

Translate from any screen

The latest updates to Google Translation have made it even more effective on mobile phones, since it is no longer mandatory to launch the application to have the right to a live translation. This “Press to Translate” feature allows you to have it hovering now.

First activate it by going to Settings > Press to translate. Enable “Press to translate” and “Show notification” if you want your notification bar to show you when Google Trad is hovering.

Once this is done, simply select any text to access the “translate” option. If you click on it, a Google Translation window appears and translates the text for you. And this without ever leaving the application or web page you were browsing before.

Keep a lexicon in your pocket at all times

During a trip, at one time or another we necessarily need a lexicon, so that we can make the most basic thoughts understood by the person we are talking to. If you’ve ever needed a book before, all you have to do now is plan everything on your smartphone.

When you do a translation, either in the application or on the web, you can save it to your Gmail account so you can find it later. In the translation screen, you see a small star: press it, and the current translation will be saved.

All you have to do is slide from left to right and choose “Lexicon”: you will find all the translations you have saved in this way. Since the application is more powerful than when it only has to translate a single word, or a very common expression, take the opportunity to create your own survival tools. Think about it the next time that finding the toilet in a foreign country becomes an impossible mission.

Translate your texts directly

On the same menu, you have access to the “sms translation” category. By pressing it, you will be able to retrieve all the messages you have received on your phone. Pressing them will allow you to put them directly into the application’s translation engine, without the need to copy/paste the text.

Here’s what to remember about Google’s translation software, as it turned 10 years old in 2016. Do you know of any Android applications that are complementary or superior to Google Translation? Have you ever had a time when this translation software saved your ass?

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