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Google Translate on Smartphones

Installing Google Translate

  • First, go to either Google Play or Apple App Store and install the app on your phone. 

Installing GT

Helpful Features

  1. Compares English to foreign students' mother tongue

  2. Aids with Pronunciation 

  3. Builds Vocabulary

  4. Increases General Knowledge and Enhances Cultural Awareness

Two ways to look up words.

One way is by tapping on a word, then once again tapping on Define:

  • If you were to tap on "fjord," for example, you would see a likeness of Photo 1 below.

  • Then if you were to tap on "Define" on the superimposed bar, you would be able to hear "fjord" pronounced, as well as see a sketch of a woman's face as she pronounces the word. See Photo 2.

  • Plus, you would be given the opportunity to practice saying the word yourself, and your pronunciation would be checked. If correct, you would be told, Good Job! If incorrect, you would be given some tips to help say the word properly.

Photo 2

Selecting "fjord" to find its definition
User box with Fjord in 2 languages with face articulating the word

Photo 1

Another way to look up definitions is by tapping on a word, which will then appear on the bottom of your display, then pressing and dragging it upward. 

For example, if you were to drag "fjord," upward, as shown in Photo 1 above, you would instantly get the pictures that are seen in Photo 3 below:

Photos of fjords

Photo 3



To make sure that Google Translate is in the right mode for selecting text, we'll use Story 289 to illustrate. It's, the first story of Multilinguals Set Nine.


Follow these three prefatory steps:

  1. Tap the box next to the 3 horizontal dots pictured in Photo 4.

  2. If Totally Literate does not appear as it is shown in Photo 5, then tap the blue "+" sign on the bottom of the screen and type in 

  3. Next tap "Tabs" then "Done."

Start of a second way to find the definition of a word

Photo 4

Box with collections, one being Totally Literate

Photo 5

Next, follow these steps:

Step One: Press down on the first word of the story until a thump is felt. See Photo 6.

Step TwoPress the right "tear drop" and drag it down until the whole story is covered in blue. (You might have to release your finger to scroll farther down on the story to capture it all. If so, press the tear drop again and drag it the rest of the way.)  See Photo 7.

  • If after selecting the story, the bar with Copy, Share, Select all is not visible, pressing on the blue area should bring it back into sight.

Capturing first word Story 289

Photo 6

Selecting entire Story 289

Photo 7

Step ThreeTap the 3 vertical dots to the right of "Select all" then tap on "Translate" from the pop-up menu that should appear superimposed over the story. See Photo 8.

Step Four: Now you can listen to the story in English or French, as we are prepared to do. See Photo 9.

Step Five: To listen to this story in a different language, just tap on "French" and make your selection from the pop-up menu that will appear.

Step Six: If you tap the 3 vertical dots to the right of Google Translate, you can reverse the order so that French will appear above English.

Note: In this mode, words are not highlighted in color as they are read aloud.

Showing how to translate a story

Photo 8

Showing Story 289 in English and French

Photo 9

Read Out Loud

Read Out Loud

To access this mode, you should tap the 3 horizontal dots on the bottom of your phone's display, then select "Read aloud" from the chart menu. As soon as you do, the narration will start.  See photos 10 and 11 below.​


Showing what smarphone screen looks like when reading aloud Story289

Photo 10

Chart Menu of amrtphone tools

Photo 11


Notes regarding Read Out Loud:

  1. The text will be highlighted in yellow on a blue line as it is read aloud.

  2. The navigation controls will appear at the top of your screen. (When a story is being read, however, they will disappear. To make them reappear, merely press upward on your display.)

  3. You can read one story after another or jump around and read one story here and another there. But before moving to a story out of numeric succession, you must pause the narration, then press the first word of the new story until you feel a thump.

  4. By tapping the cogwheel opposite the navigation controls, you can change to another English speaker, and you can change the speaker's speed of delivery.

  5. Holding your phone horizontally makes the print larger as well as makes the rhyming words stand out.

  6. All the Pronunciation and Definition tools are available while in the reading mode. But before accessing them, you must pause "Read aloud."

  7. When through reading, merely tap the "x" to the left of the voice controls on the top of your screen.

Self-Study, Teacher-Assisted Study

To get to the screen depicted in Photo 12 below, we'll use ignore to illustrate. Please press on this word, then tap on the 3 vertical dots next to "Select all," as shown above in Photos 6 and 7. Next, tap on "Translate," as shown in Photo 8. Now we can hear the word in English or French. Should we want to hear it in a different language, all we need to do is tap on "French" then make a selection. 

Shows mics to listen to "ignored" in English and French

Photo 12

To get to a blank screen, merely tap your Google Translate app. Then you can practice saying words or sentences in whichever language you desire, perhaps in French, as we have done here. See photos 13 and 14.

User box showing how to input text by typing or speaking in English and French

Photo 13

User box has a common saying in English and French

Photo 14

Once you access Google Translate, it can be used in several ways. The following are a few of them --

  • Students can use the mic to input words, thus learn how to spell English or any other language correctly.

  • Students with a modicum of typing ability can use the keyboard to input words.

  • Students who are taking a foreign language at school can use it to check their homework.

  • Parents can use it as a teaching aid.

  • Teachers and tutors of foreign languages can use it face-to-face or on Zoom. See Photo 15 below:

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Shows 2 cartoon characters speaking diferent languages conversing

Photo 15

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