12 Amazing Ways to Use Google Translate to Practice Spanish (2024)

12 Amazing Ways to Use Google Translate to Practice Spanish (1)

April 3, 2021by Faustina MulnikLearning Strategies0 comments

To be more efficient and impressive with your Spanish translations, use this complete guide on how to use Google Translate like a pro!

What is Google Translate?

Google translate is a powerful online tool that translates words and sentences from one language to another.

Besides English and Spanish, Google translates French, Italian, German, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, and Yiddish—just to name a few. It actually translates over 100 languages!

How to Get It

Google Translate is completely free! To download it as an app or pull it up online, just do a search in your browser! Google Translate has apps for both iOS and Android mobile devices that let you translate via text, speech, and pictures.

Check out Google Translate for web browsers or download the app via Play Store or App Store.

Limitations of Google Translate

Before learning to use Google Translate, it’s important to go over this tool’s limitations. Although it is useful, Google Translate isn’t perfect.

Google Translate uses a database of word pairs between languages for its translations. While this gives you speedy translations, it also means that translations might not always be correct.

Online translation just isn’t capable of picking up context, hidden meanings, or metaphors. As a result, some translations come out as awkward literal translations that miss the real significance of the phrase or as outright errors.

For example, your Spanish teacher will be able to tell if you turn in a Google-translated document and likely won’t be happy about it!

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Google Translate! Google Translate is an incredible resource that gives you fast translations of a vast array of words and phrases—just don’t use it for your Spanish essays!

How to Use Google Translate on a Web Browser

First, let’s go over how you can use Google Translate on a web browser. This tool gives you a variety of options to translate text of any kind!

1. Translate Text

Text translation is the most common usage for Google Translate!

Simply pick your source language on the top left and your target language on the top right. For example, if you want to translate an English phrase into Spanish, English would be your source language and Spanish would be your target language.

If you forget this step, don’t worry! Google can automatically detect which language you’re using! Pretty cool right?

Next, start typing! Or paste text from documents or websites.

2. Save Your Favorite Phrases

Afraid of forgetting a fun new phrase you just translated? Google Translate has you covered! This tool enables you to easily save your translations so you can come back to them later.

Just click on the tiny star image by your translation. It will turn yellow after you click it, showing that the translator put the phrase into your saved list.

To go back to this translation, click on the large star icon at the bottom of the page called “Saved.” The webside wil instantly pull up a list of all your saved phrases. Build up your own personal Spanish dictionary with all your favorite words!

3. Translate Entire Documents

You’ll be able to read articles and documents in Spanish with this feature!

Just click the “documents” button at the top left and browse your computer for the file you need to translate.

That’s it! Google Translate will do the rest! A completed translation of your document will appear on your screen that you can copy or save.

4. Translate Websites

Simply copy the URL of the website you wish to translate and paste it into the left side of Google Translate. A new URL with the translated version of the site will pop up on the right-hand side. Click the link and start reading your new source! Click here if you need extra help with this.

5. Translate Speech

Want to translate a phrase but don’t feel like typing it all out? The speech translation mode is perfect to easily translate your words with minimal effort.

Simply plug in English and Spanish as the languages you want to use and click the microphone in the left corner. Then start talking! Click the new blue stop icon when you’re finished and Google Translate will automatically put your words into Spanish on the right side.

Want to listen to the translation in Spanish? Click the microphone icon on the right side this time and it will say your translation out loud. Check out this resource for more tips on using Google speech translation!

How to Use the Mobile App

Download Google Translate on your device so you can take your translations with you anywhere! Here are some tips on how to the mobile app and let your translations flow.

6. Pocket Dictionary

Google Translate makes a great pocket dictionary and thesaurus for on-the-go language practice. To use it as a dictionary, you’ll want to set the source language to “detect language” and the target language to English or Spanish, depending on what language you want the definition in.

Next, type the word you want to define. Scroll down to view a list of definitions!

7. Write

You don’t always have to type out your text! You can actually use your fingers to write out your phrases. This can come in handy when you prefer to handwrite your words rather than text-type.

Just click on the pen icon and start drawing! Google Translate will automatically put in the words and give you their translations.

8. Block Offensive Words

Want to make sure your child or student is safe using Google Translate? This app lets you easily block offensive words from being translated.

Just go to settings in the app and click on “Speech Input.” From there, you will have the option to block or permit offensive words from being used.

This is a great option so that students of all ages can have safe access to this amazing app!

9. Full Screen

Small text on a phone can be difficult to read! Luckily, Google Translate allows you to expand your translation to full screen. You’ll easily be able to read the words now—even from a distance!

First, put in your text as you normally do for a translation. Next, click the three dots by the translated text and hit “Full Screen.” The new translation will automatically expand and fill the whole screen.

10. Offline

You might not always have access to the internet when you need to translate something. Here is how you can use Google Translate offline so you’re never caught off guard!

Go to the app and download a language pack so you always have access to Google Translate, even with spotty wi-fi! Just go to the list of languages, find Spanish, and hit download. That’s it!

For more information on how to use Google Translate offline, click here.

11. Translate Images

Image translation is one of the coolest features of the app! It allows you to use your phone’s camera to translate any image instantly.

Simply choose your source and target languages and tap the camera icon. You’ll then want to aim your camera at the sign, menu, or document you want translated. Try to hold it steady so that Google Translate can get a good view of the words.

Once Google Translate recognizes the text, it will automatically translate it on the screen! Impress your parents or friends with this neat trick!

12. Conversations

Want to talk to someone who only speaks Spanish? Don’t worry! The Google Translate app allows you to carry out real-time conversations with anyone!

As always, put in the two languages you need for the translations. Then you’ll want to hit the “conversation” button. You have the option to translate the conversation manually or automatically.

In manual mode, you have to click on the microphone of the speaker before their turn. However, if you click “automatic” the website will detect who is speaking!

From there, you can carry on your conversation and read the screen as the translator automatically types out your words!

Want More Spanish Practice?

Now that you know how to use Google Translate like a pro, it’s time to go to town with your translations! But did you know that learning Spanish is actually more effective when you learn 1-on-1 with a certified, native Spanish-speaking teacher? That’s why Homeschool Spanish Academy has over 24,000 actively enrolled students! Sign up for your own free class today!

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Faustina Mulnik

Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy

As a native English speaker, I’ve spent over 6 years perfecting my Spanish. My studies have led me to major in Spanish, translate documents at a local museum, and communicate with people I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to know. I’ve studied abroad in Spain, lived in Yellowstone National Park for a summer, and volunteered in Costa Rica. I’m a passionate travel enthusiast seeking to share my love for all things Latin America.

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