How To Use Google Translate To Interpret Anything

Photographed by Kate Anglestein.
If you have the time to commit yourself to learning a new language, there's no shortage of mobile options at your fingertips. But when you need a quick translation at work or when traveling abroad, Google Translate is the go-to pocket translator.
While you might have used the app for translating short snippets of text, Google Translate supports far more than a quick line or two. You can use it to interpret full webpages and documents, as well as spoken conversations and signs on the street. It will help you avoid ordering sheep penis or chicken testicles (unless, of course, you want them), and save you from a major email faux pas with an overseas work client — if you know how to use it correctly.
Ahead, your complete guide to the translation tool.
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Text Untangled

Translating any line of text is as easy as copying and pasting it into Google Translate. If you know the language that you're translating from, open the Google Translate app, enter your text and select the appropriate to and from languages along the top. For those with Android phones, you can translate a text message directly within the app by going to the Menu and selecting "SMS translation."

If you don't know the language you're translating from, go to Google Translate on your phone's browser, and select "detect language" on the left-hand side of the screen.
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Speech Solved

If you'd like to translate a spoken conversation, select the languages that you're translating to and from on the home screen. Then, tap the microphone icon and speak into your phone.

If you're looking to translate swear words, you'll need to go to the app's settings, select "speech input" and toggle off "block offensive words," since this is turned on by default.
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Picture Puzzled Out

Have photo, need translation? No problem. Choose the languages you're translating to and from, then, tap the camera icon. On the bottom toolbar, select the photos icon to the left of the camera and give the app permission to access your photos. The app will scan your photo looking for the selected language and then ask you to highlight the text with your finger. From there, the translation will appear at the top of the screen and you can press the arrow to see the full translation and text it to a friend if the need arises.

If you want to translate an image in real-time, you can take a photo directly within the app by selecting the camera image, framing your shot, and following the same steps as above.
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Document Decoded

You can't translate an entire document on your iPhone or Android phone, but you can on your laptop. Go to the Google Translate page, select your languages to translate to and from, and then select the hyperlinked "translate a document" directly below the white text box. Click to upload your document (Microsoft Word documents, text files, pdfs, and Excel sheets all work), and let Google work its magic.
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Site Spelled Out

The same principles for translating a document apply to translating a webpage. Although you can't translate an entire site on your phone, you can on a computer. Follow the same process as you would for a document, but instead of uploading a file to the Google Translate page, simply paste the website's URL in the white box and press translate.

When you click on the link to the right, you'll be shown the newly interpreted and, hopefully, much easier to understand, webpage.

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