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How to use Google Translate as an OCR tool for Arabic

Google Translate now processes images with Arabic texts and decodes Arabic! Which means: you can use your phone’s camera, take a picture of any Arabic text – and instantly get a translation (plus the Arabic text!). Here is how it works.

LAST UPDATED: 1 month ago

You can talk to because Google understands Arabic much better! Google Translate will convert your speech into text and instantly translate it. And if you don’t wanna talk to Google, then use your phone’s camera.

Google Translate now can process images with Arabic texts and decode Arabic. Just take a picture of any Arabic text and mark what you want Google to translate into English.

Hate it or love it – Google Translate is, in my opinion, a great gadget, especially, if you are traveling and don’t have a clue about the language which is spoken in your destination.

Even though Arabic is one of the official UN-languages, Google Translate’s support of Arabic was pretty weak. One of the best features of Google Translate is the camera option.

google translate snap

By a simple click, the camera analyzed a text in a foreign language. Eventually, you could highlight what you want to translate. Regarding Arabic, however, the camera icon was greyed out and a message was displayed that said camera input was not available for this language. This has dramatically changed! It works now!

Google Translate has now added Arabic to its “image translation feature“.

google translate arabic

The latest version of Google Translate for and allows users to use the phones’ cameras to translate texts.

This visual translation feature allows users to point their phone at a menu, sign, or any other text in order to convert it. Once the image has been analyzed, you can select any part to see the resulting translation as a pop-up.

How good is it? It is definitely helpful. The best thing about it that its recognition of Arabic text is excellent, so you don’t have to copy texts manually anymore.

Let’s try it with a novel – the Arabic translation of “Kite Runner”.

w=9999

Now, let’s ask Google to translate the first page.

w=9999

This is the result:

w=9999

This would be the English translation of GOOGLE:

w=9999

It definitely gives you an idea. Of course Google still struggles to translate sophisticated Arabic texts. But works pretty well for newspaper articles.


Just in case you haven’t discovered it.

Google Translate also has upgraded its voice recognition for Arabic.

Try it out and talk to Google – you will be surprised how much of your Arabic will be identified correctly. This, by the way, is also a good option to test how good your pronunciation is. If Google understands you, I bet that many Arabs will do as well.

It is not that Google is the standard, of course, but the algorithms behind do know how to identify Arabic 😉

w=9999

Other tools that may save you time:

picture credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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