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How to Translate A Picture or Scanned PDF With Google Translate

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Google Translate is one of the most popular and widely used tools for translation. You can use Google Translate to translate text from images and documents in different formats, including PDF, Word, JPG, and more.

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how you can translate an image using Google Translate on a phone and computer.

A little Heads-up: Google Translate can't recognize text from a scanned PDF. To translate text on PDF images, you can use Wondershare PDFelement, which can edit, analyze, summarize, and translate text on images in PDF format.

Can Google Translate a Picture?

Google Translate is a translation tool that supports over 130 languages, from commonly used languages, such as English, French, Spanish, and German, to less common languages, such as Hebrew, Quechua, Sepedi, Tsonga, and others. And yes, you can use Google Translate for images.

Google Translate is available on both mobile and PC. With the Google Translate app on your mobile, you can take a picture or select a photo from a gallery for Google to translate text on the image. Or you can directly upload an image from your computer to Google Translate online to get the translation. You can also translate a document or a website with Google Translate online.

How to Use Google Translate Image on a Phone

You can use the mobile version of Google Translate to translate pictures. Here is how you can translate images using Google Translate on your phone.

Step 1Select the translation language

Open the Google Translate app on your iPhone or Android phone. Select a source language and the language you want to translate to. For example, you can translate picture from English to Spanish.

Step 2Translate a picture with Google

You can scan and translate a picture with your phone camera. Aim your camera at the text that you want to translate. Wait for a few seconds, and then the translation will appear on the screen with the text replaced. To copy the translation, you can tap the photo button.

Or you can upload an image from an album to the Translate app. Then, set the languages you need, for example, from English to Spanish. After selecting the language, Google Translate will automatically recognize the text in the picture and display the translation in the same layout as the original image. The translated text will replace the input text. You can also tap Select Text or Send to Translate Home if you need to edit the text.

google translate photo

How to Use Google Translate Picture on Computer

You can use Google Translate to translate documents easily. With only three simple steps, you can quickly get the translation. Here's a guide to uploading and downloading a file you want to translate.

Step 1Upload a file

Open a browser and go to the Google Translate website. Click the Documents tab and select the original text language and the language to which you want to translate the text. Then, click Browse Your Computer, and select the PDF file that you want to process.

google translate scanned pdf choose file
Step 2Start translation

After the upload, click Translate to translate the PDF.

Step 3Download the document

Once the page prompts that the translation is complete, click Download translation. Then, the file will be automatically downloaded from the website and saved to the default folder.

Google Translate is free and can produce a translation of a 200-word file within seconds. However, the limitations of Google Translate are also obvious.

  • Google Translate cannot translate scanned PDFs.
  • The tool cannot recognize the text if you upload a scanned PDF or an image.
  • Errors occur if the layout of the PDF is not clear.

When translating PDF, Google Translate retains the layout of the file. Consequently, grammatical and format errors may be returned when information is not in a system-friendly order.

How to Use Google to Translate PDF Image

You can use Google Translate to translate a scanned photo in two ways. First, you can use the OCR tool to recognize text in a scanned file. This way, Google Translate can understand the meaningful pixels and translate them into another language. You can also extract text from PDF or JPG files by converting them into Word files. Doing so can make the result more accurate and return fewer mistakes.

PDFelement is an ideal application for converting files with OCR. Follow the procedure below to see how to apply OCR:

Step 1Select a file

If you haven't downloaded PDFelement, you can download it from its official website. After you download the app, launch the desktop application. On the home page of the interface, click OCR PDF to process your scanned document. Then, select the scanned PDF from your computer as prompted. Click Open when finished.

pdfelement home interface
Step 2Change the settings

Choose from over 30 languages available, and change the page range and the dpi based on your requirements. Keep Editable Text selected for Type. After confirming the settings, click Perform OCR to start the task.

pdfelement ocr settings
Step 3Open and edit

Once the operation is successful, click Open. Then, you will be navigated to the PDF edit interface. Modify the text if you want to delete or add something.

Step 4Save and export

After you complete the modification, find Export Data in the Form tab in the upper toolbar. Then, save the editable and searchable file to your desired location.

Note: If you are processing an image, you need to convert the image into a PDF first. Drag and drop the file to the blank area or click Open File. Then, the picture will be converted into a PDF.

pdfelement choose file home interface

Find the OCR Text Recognition tool in the Tool tab in the upper part of the interface. Click the tool, change the language, and type the settings as shown above. Repeat the same steps: click Perform OCR and Open, and then save the document.

Once you get the editable document, you can upload it directly to Google Translate. Then, you can also copy the text from the converted file. Then, paste it into the Google Translate text box. The translation will appear in the translation text box.

What Else Can I Do With the PDF

Aside from having OCR and conversion tools, PDFelement also provides a variety of tools that you can use to modify your PDF.

On the home page of the application, you can compress, merge, or split your PDF. You can also compare the old version of your file with the new version of the file. If you want to process multiple PDFs and get the output simultaneously, click Batch PDF. This allows you to upload many large files with multiple pages.

PDFelement's main features include:

  • Markup the PDF with tools like highlight, underline, squiggly, pencil, etc.
  • Comment on the PDF with a text box, text callout, or sticky note.
  • Add related files and organize them with a paperclip.
  • Measure the distance between two points on a page with the distance measure tool.
  • Sign the document with a stamp and signature.
  • Increase the security of a document with a password.
  • Add more effects to a document with buttons, such as the check box, radio button, dropdown, list box, etc.
  • Modify the document with a watermark, background, header & footer, etc.


Google Translate provides efficient translating services but does not allow you to translate a scanned PDF and image directly. To overcome the limitations of Google Translate, you can use PDFelement to convert a document into an editable and searchable file. With PDFelement, you can increase the efficiency of handling and modifying documents within seconds. Download PDFelement now and edit documents with a variety of tools!

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