How to Translate Text Using iPhone Camera on iOS 16

iOS 16 brings in a ton of improvements for iPhones with new features added to the Lock Screen, Messages, Apple Mail, Focus, Fitness, and other apps. Another little addition to Apple’s mobile OS is the Translate camera feature that gives users the ability to get translations from your camera or any picture you have saved in your iPhone’s library. 

In this post, we’ll explain what this Translate camera feature is all about and how you can use it on the Translate app on iOS 16. 

What is the translation feature in the camera app on iOS 16?

With iOS 16, Apple’s Translate app provides a new feature that lets you translate text from one language to another by pointing your iPhone’s camera at the text. You can use the app’s inbuilt camera to capture a picture and iOS will use the on-device machine learning to detect the text portion from the image and translate it to your preferred language. 

Once the text-rich picture is scanned, you can tap on the translated words to learn how it’s pronounced in both languages. From there, you can copy the translation and paste it elsewhere or add the translation to your Favorites list to access it later. You also get the option to share the translated image with others. 

Translate’s camera translation feature can be beneficial when reading road signs, texts from books, maps, buildings, etc. The app will also work offline as long as you’ve downloaded the languages you want to convert texts between. 

What languages are supported for translation?

When using the in-app camera, the Translate app lets you get translations done between any two of the following languages:

  • English (US)
  • English (UK)
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Mandarin – China Mainland)
  • Chinese (Mandarin – Taiwan)
  • Japanese 
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish 

You can translate text between any of the two languages listed above and change the language you can translate to at any time. 

How to translate text using your iPhone camera

To translate a text from your iPhone’s camera on iOS 16, open the Translate app. 

When the app launches, tap on the Camera tab at the bottom. 

You should see the camera viewfinder appear on the next screen. At the top, you will need to configure which languages you’re translating the texts between. If you know which language you’re about to scan, tap on the language box at the top left corner. 

In the overflow menu that appears, select the original language of the text you’re about to scan. 

Similarly, tap on the language box at the top right corner and select the language you want to translate the original text into. 

Now, point the viewfinder to the text you want to translate. It can be anything from a road sign, location name, book, or anything with a text. Make sure all the text you wish to scan is visible inside the viewfinder. Once properly positioned, tap on the Circle button below the viewfinder.

If you want to translate texts from a picture saved in your iPhone library, tap on the image icon at the bottom left corner. 

If iOS is able to detect the language from the picture you captured, its translation will show up as an overlay where the original text was visible. 

You can tap on any of the translated texts to get additional options. 

In the overflow menu, you’ll see the original and translated texts along with their respective languages.

You can tap on the play icon to hear both of their pronunciations. 

To copy the translation to your clipboard, tap on Copy Translation

If you wish to add the translation to your Favorites inside the Translate app, tap on Add to Favorites.

You can also share a copy of the translated image with others by tapping on the Share icon.

To scan a new text, you can tap on the ‘x’ icon at the bottom which will remove the previously scanned image from the viewfinder to display what’s in front of your camera.  

That’s all you need to know about translating text using your iPhone camera on iOS 16. 

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