No English menu? No problem with this easy travel hack

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Have you ever sat down to enjoy a nice dinner on vacation, only to find you couldn’t read the menu? Although restaurants in tourist hotspots may offer an English menu if you’re lucky, don’t count on it. And while you can take a chance, what if you get something you don’t want? You’ll end up spending money on something you don’t even like, which is not how you should spend your vacation. Fortunately, very easy and simple travel hack will allow you to read any menu. Travelers have been using this trick for years, but many are still unaware of its existence.

Young woman eating in a cafe in France

Take, for example, the young woman below who took a vacation in Turkey. During her visit, she went to a restaurant with no English menu, and the staff didn’t speak much English either. This prompted her to download Google Translate to communicate with staff. Translate has been used by travelers for many years and is an extremely useful tool to have in a foreign country. However, there is a peculiarity that often goes unnoticed, as is the case of the woman below. When opening the app, there is a “camera” button that you can press.

After tapping the camera button, travelers can point their phone at a menu or anything with text in a foreign language, like road signs, notices, or even nutrition labels at the grocery store .

In a few seconds, Google Translate will overlay the foreign text with English (or the user’s language of choice). The feature is extremely useful when visiting a foreign country and often goes unnoticed, as is the case with the woman in the video.

Couple looking at an outside menu which is not in English

Google Translate tips and tricks

Offline use

One thing that travelers often encounter when in a foreign country is a lack of cell phone data or Wi-Fi. Although many tourist areas have free Wi-Fi in various shops and restaurants , you can’t always rely on it. Fortunately, Google Translate allows users to download languages ​​to their devices so they don’t need an internet connection for translations to work. Downloading a language does not use much space, so feel free to download as many as you think you need. For example, downloading French for offline use only uses 74 MB of storage space.

screenshot for how to navigate offline languages ​​in google translate

After downloading for offline use, TranslateThe functionality of is more limited. However, users can still use their camera to translate text in real time, and they will still be able to type in their native language to translate into another. Offline, Google Translate cannot convert speech and talk mode is not available.


Chat mode

This feature comes in handy when trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language. However, one of its main drawbacks is that the feature will not work without an internet connection. Travelers who are not connected to Wi-Fi or who do not have an international data plan will not be able to take advantage of Conversation Fashion. For those lucky enough to have a connection during their journey, this feature allows a near-seamless conversation between two people who do not speak the other’s language.

screenshot for how to use conversation mode in google translate

Once users have selected the languages ​​they wish to translate between; they just need to hit the Conversation button then the Auto button. After that, both people can speak their native language. Google Translate will automatically detect each language before translating it into the other selected language. The app will listen to both languages ​​all the time and translate immediately upon detection.

Charming Le Consulat restaurant on the Montmartre hill.  Paris, France

Travel prepared

Google Translate is an invaluable tool for traveling to a country that does not speak your native language. Downloading languages ​​before you go is a great way to make sure you’re not caught off guard when trying to communicate or read a menu. In the same way Google Translatemany other apps will keep your trip running smoothly, including Google Maps, TripIt, and more.

This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your upcoming trip, please visit:

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