How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone

The struggles of a foreign country and language barriers fixed with your phone

Do you know the struggle when you go to a restaurant in a touristic place and they only have a menu in their own language? Not even in English, looking at you France.

Dutch restaurants almost always have menus in different languages, especially in tourist locations. Hence, in the big cities you often only get it in English.

Fortunately, I always use an app on my phone to adjust the menus or other texts to English.


Let’s use Google Translate to translate text to your preferer language

The steps below work for both iOS and Android.
In the steps below I am using a OnePlus with Android installed.

Go to the store and install Google Translate or Open the application.

Direct links:
Google Translate in de App Store (apple.com)
Google Translate – Apps op Google Play

How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone
How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone

The sample text I will be using in the screenshot below. This is a piece of text from a local supermarket on how to maintain the gardens that you get for free with your groceries.

How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone
How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone

Open the Google Translate app and select Camera. Then point your camera at the text you want to translate. The text overlaps the text in the app.

See below for an example.

How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone
How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone

Personally, I find it difficult to read the text now because minimal movement of the mobile automatically shifts the text to make it overlapping again.

I prefer to use the Import option myself.
I first take a picture of the menu and then Import it into Google Translate.

Select Import and select the picture you just made.

How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone
How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone

Now you get the option to omit certain parts of text. I usually use the Select all option.

In the blue bar you can see the translated text. When you select this you will see more.

How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone
How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone

When you scroll down you will see the translated text.

Unfortunately, the enters and paragraphs disappear, making it still not always easy to read, but it is better than a French menu.

How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone
How to translate paper text in all languages with your phone

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Bas Wijdenes

My name is Bas Wijdenes and I work as a PowerShell DevOps Engineer. In my spare time I write about interesting stuff that I encounter during my work.

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