Quickly Translate Text on the fly Using a Shortcut (2023)

Applies to: iPhone and iPad IOS 13+,

If you find that you come across (or yourself write) short chunks of text that you need to translate on the fly, like Facebook comments or an email, here is one solution.

You can copy the text to the clipboard, and then you can use a shortcut to translate the contents of the clipboard using Microsoft’s translation engine. You can activate the shortcut in several different ways. We’ll take each of these steps in turn:

Copying text to the clipboard

There are three main ways you will achieve this:

  1. With VoiceOver enabled, using the three-finger quadruple tap which copies the last spoken content to the clipboard;
  2. With VoiceOver enabled, by using the text selection and edit>copy (or cut) options in the rotor, where they are available;
  3. By using a setting within a particular app where available, such as copying a Facebook comment or message with their dedicated “copy” buttons

Translating the text

Install this Paste and Translate shortcut on your iPhone or iPad. NB: If you prefer not to trust external shortcuts, are familiar with creating shortcuts and want to make your own, see the bottom of this post for the actions I used.

Here are the steps for installing the shortcut:

  1. Select the download link on your iPhone or iPad that you want to install the shortcut on. Then select “Get shortcut”.
  2. Flick right repeatedly (or scroll down) till you find the “Add untrusted shortcut” button and double tap on it. (Apple labels all external shortcuts as “untrusted” because it can’t verify their authenticity).
  3. Choose which language text should be translated into. Select the “Choose” button to pick a language, then select the “Done” button.

Activating the shortcut

Now it’s time to decide how you want to access the shortcut. Here are your options. You can use any or all of the following:

Ask Siri

Siri will respond to the name of the shortcut. By default, it’s called “Paste and translate”, but you can rename it from the shortcuts app if you like by selecting the shortcut > Details.

Assign a VoiceOver gesture to it

This is very efficient if you’re a VoiceOver user. To do this, go into settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Commands > All commands > Shortcuts. Double tap on “Paste and translate” and select your preferred gesture (it will save automatically once done). VoiceOver will warn you if you are about to assign it to a gesture already in use so you can decide if you really want to use that one.

Access it from the share sheet

The shortcut will appear in the share sheet by default (if you don’t want it to, that option is under ‘details” when you select the shortcut from within the Shortcuts app). To activate it in the share sheet, look for “Paste and translate” in the list of actions.

Add the shortcut to your home screen

To do this, select the shortcut from within the shortcuts app. Then select “details” and the “Add to home screen” button is under there. By default, it’ll appear last on the first available page of apps so not necessarily on page 1. It you want to move it, you can edit its placement just as you would with apps or other home-screen icons.

Problems/questions/other useful translate shortcuts?

Post in the comments below.

Creating your own shortcut

Assuming you have basic familiarity with creating shortcuts, you can, of course, create a translate shortcut in any number of ways. Here are the actions I used. I list the action followed by the syntax configured once selected.

Get clipboard > Get clipboard
Translate text with Microsoft > translate [clipboard] from [detected language] to [# choose your preferred language)
Show result > show [translated text]

Then set the options under “Details” as desired (re share sheet, home screen icon etc.)


(Video) Introducing Tap to Translate





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Thanks for the ver useful…

Thanks for the ver useful shortcut. Is there a way to add more than one target language? So for example, if the text I need to translate is in Spanish and I need to translate it to Italian and and I then wanted to get English translation, is there any way I can accomplish this?

(Video) The iPhone Shortcuts App Explained - iOS Siri Shortcuts for Beginners

Options for multiple translations


I'm also a bit of a novice on the Shortcuts app but, Ive tried to make two options, one where it'll ask each time what Language you want to translate to, so you would just run that shortcut twice, and in the other option it’s a single shortcut and you preset the two languages you want to translate to.

Give them a go and see what you think, appreciae if you can post your feedback here especially if there's any problems. :)

Shortcut that asks for the target Language each time (I called it "Paste and translaTe choose): https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/865f28fe106548eaa7a766ed62355984

Shortcut with option to translate twice (called "Paste and translate twice"): https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/1281b4a5111540ba8449477e8075a3d6

Uh-Huh! I think I figured…

Uh-Huh! I think I figured out how to do this. I duplicated the shortcut then edited the language output and renamed the shortcut to reflect the target language I am translating to. So now I have the CMD+Shift+1 to translate any source language text to English and CMD+Shift+2 to translate the copied text to Spanish.

Yup, that's another good…

Yup, that's another good option :)

(Video) Dogs with Torches Ep 46: Latin and Scholasticism [feat. Dylan Schrader]

Having issues adding untrusted

It won't allow me to run untrusted shortcuts no matter what I've tried. The "allow untrusted..." is dimmed so it can't be toggled. What a pain lol.

Odd, no idea why that would…

Odd, no idea why that would be. Is iCloud sync on? You can try following the instructions at the bottom to make the shortcut yourself, hopefully it works. :)

You need to

If you want to run on trusted shortcuts and install and trusted shortcuts, you have to run a shortcut that’s already on the device first. So for example, if you have a Shortcuts that ask Siri to get the news. You would double tap and run that. Then after that you would close your Shortcuts app and then you can go back to the shortcut link and click on it to install it. You can even do this for short cuts that have been made from apps. So for example if you have a subscription to Weather Gods, and you can get the Siri shortcut for that. Run one of those shortcuts. Then you can install and run on trusted shortcuts. I had the same problem that you did. Especially when I installed a shortcut for getting the pollen counts. And I was stymied myself. But I figured out that that was the only way to fix that problem. I hope this helps you! :-)

Thank you for the tips

Thank you for the tips! Especially the one about how you can add a shortcut to your home screen! I did not know that you could do that! Now that I know that I can do that, I will be adding the browse photo shortcut to my home screen from Seeing AI! Well I already have a voiceover gesture assigned to that shortcut, I’ll try anything! LOL :-) also, I might do that with some other shortcuts that I either create or install. I think I’m definitely going to try out the translation shortcut though! Because I have come across a couple of things, on Facebook, where translation was a tiny bit of an issue. It’s not often, but it does happen from time to time. I’m a member of several meme groups and things like that on Facebook. So stuff is bound to happen.

I’m going in

(Video) NEVER use Google Translate again (iOS 13 Shortcuts)

Hello! I’m going in to try to find the more detail screen for shortcuts, and I can’t seem to find it. Am I just not looking in the right place? I go to my shortcuts and then I go to the Shortcuts or your apps. Because that’s really the only thing that I have that actually says something about my Shortcuts. Thank you all in the Fants! :-)

Hi, I've sometimes found the…

Hi, I've sometimes found the details option to not appear or be difficult to focus on as well.

But in principle, if you go into the shortcuts app under my shortcuts, then double tap on the shorcut in question, the details button should be right one swipe right of the heading at the top, which displays the name of the shortcut.

ahh thanks!

That worked! I thought I have run a shortcut before which baffled me why the darn thing was giving me issues to turn the flipin' switch to on! I ran a asanine shortcut and presto! Apparently I'm stupid lol! Thanks for the suggestion/help!

I thought the same thing at first :-)

You’re welcome! :-) I’m glad it helped! I thought the same thing! Personally, I don’t like that it’s set up that way, because I think it’s confusing. Trust me, you are not stupid. It’s just confusing the way that that is set up. At least to me. I never would’ve thought to run a shortcut myself. I just tried it just to see if it would make a difference. Just as basic troubleshooting. And it fix the problem.


What is the shortcut key for translate? ›

Press Ctrl+M (⌘M on Mac) to translate the whole page or selection.

Is there a keyboard that translates? ›

You can use Gboard's translate feature on an Android device to translate the text you type into dozens of different languages, without ever leaving the app you're in. Gboard's translation menu works anywhere you can type, including search engines and social media apps.

How do I translate automatic? ›

Control which languages Chrome automatically translates.
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app .
  2. To the right of the address bar, tap More. ...
  3. Tap Languages. ...
  4. Tap Automatically translate these languages.
  5. To add a language, tap Add language and select the language to always translate.

Is there an instant translator app? ›

Google Translate is one of the best all-round translation apps on the market. The app can detect more than 100 languages and provide offline translations to 59 languages. With their Word Lens feature, you can translate text on signs from 37 languages.

How can I translate easily? ›

Step 1: Start translation
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Translate app .
  2. Choose your languages. At the bottom left and bottom right: Tap the languages shown. Tap the languages each of you speak.
  3. Tap Conversation .

What is the best keyboard translate? ›

The best translation apps for Android
  • BK Translate app.
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  • Dict.cc.
  • Dictionary Linguee.
  • Google Translate.
Jan 27, 2022

Can my phone auto translate? ›

Google Translate works from any app inside on your Android phone. You just have to tap, and you'll be able to translate any text while on the go.

How do I get the Google Translate keyboard? ›

Translate with handwriting or virtual keyboard
  1. Go to Google Translate.
  2. Next to "Detect language," click the Down arrow .
  3. Click the language to translate from. ...
  4. At the bottom left of the white text box, click the Down arrow .
  5. Click the keyboard you want to use. ...
  6. Use the keyboard to type or draw what you want to translate.

Does Apple have auto translate? ›

In the Translate app , you can translate text, voice, and conversations between any of the supported languages. You can download languages to translate entirely on a device, even without an internet connection. Note: Translation is available for supported languages. See the iOS and iPadOS Feature Availability website.

How do I translate an entire text? ›

  1. In your browser, go to Google Translate.
  2. At the top, click Documents.
  3. Choose the languages to translate to and from. ...
  4. Click Browse your computer.
  5. Select the file you want to translate.
  6. Click Translate and wait for the document to finish translating.

What is the fastest way to translate a document? ›

Translate a document

On your computer, open a document in Google Docs. Translate document. Enter a name for the translated document and select a language. Click Translate.

Which browser automatically translates? ›

By default, Chrome offers to translate pages written in a language that you don't understand.

What is the easiest translator app? ›

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  • Google Translate. Probably the most well-known and widely used translation apps currently available, it is a simple and easy-to-use option for those looking for a quick solution to a language issue. ...
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  • SayHi. ...
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Which free translator is the best? ›

Google Translate is the best-known option when it comes to the best free website translation tools. Via the Google Translate website, you can easily translate: Specific portions of text by copy and pasting.

Which free app is best for translation? ›

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  5. Naver Papago. 3 Images. ...
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  8. TheaterEars.
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What are 5 tips to translate correctly? ›

Keep reading to learn 7 essential tips for translating your materials to and from English.
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  • Skip the jokes. ...
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How is Google Translate so fast? ›

Google Translate uses the frequency of word pairs between two languages as a database for its translation results. Initially, it relied on statistical MT technology, which uses a set of existing translations (corpora) to create statistical models for translating specific words within sentences.

How do I manually trigger Google Translate? ›

On your computer, open Chrome. Settings. On the left, click Languages. Under "Preferred languages," turn Use Google Translate on or off.

How do you beat the Google Translate box? ›

How to Make Google Translate Beatbox
  1. Go to [1] Google Translate.
  2. Set the translator to translate German to German.
  3. Copy + paste the following into the translate box: pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz zk pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bsch.
  4. Click “listen”
  5. Be amazed :)

What is the translate command? ›

The tr command is a UNIX command-line utility for translating or deleting characters. It supports a range of transformations including uppercase to lowercase, squeezing repeating characters, deleting specific characters, and basic find and replace. It can be used with UNIX pipes to support more complex translation.

Is there a free translator app? ›

Google Translate on the App Store.

What app can translate written text? ›

You can use the Google Translate app to translate written words or phrases. You can also use Google Translate in a web browser like Chrome or Firefox.

Who is the best Google Translate? ›

DeepL is one of the best Google Translate alternatives for people who really value accuracy, especially when it comes to grasping context and local idioms. DeepL offers an API that you can use to automatically translate your website, as well as a web interface and apps to translate text content or text files (like .

How do I use Auto translate on my iPhone? ›

Translate text in the Camera app
  1. Open the Camera app , then position iPhone so that the text appears on the screen.
  2. When the yellow frame appears around detected text, tap .
  3. Select the text to translate, then tap Translate. If you don't see Translate, tap. to see more options.

Can I use tap to translate on iPhone? ›

On your iPhone or iPad, install Gboard. Open any app that you can type with, like Gmail or Keep. Tap an area where you can enter text. Pick the language to translate from.

Is Google Translate a free button? ›

Google Translate is a free multilingual machine translation service developed by Google, to translate text from one language into another.

Is there an app for Google Translate? ›

You can translate text, handwriting, photos, and speech in over 100 languages with the Google Translate app.

Can you Google Translate your screen? ›

First off, download and install Google Translate on your Android device. Launch the application and click on the hamburger option, followed by selecting the “Settings” option. Now, click on “Tap to translate“. Activate the option that says allowed the app to “Run in the background“.

Does Apple have a free translator app? ›

Google Translate is in its 15th year and available on the web, as a Chrome browser extension and as an Android and an iOS app. Apple released its Translate app last year for the iPhone and added it to last month's iOS 15 update for the iPad.

What is Apple's translate app called? ›

Translate is a translation app developed by Apple for their iOS and iPadOS devices.

Is there a free translate app for iPhone? ›

Microsoft Translator is a free, personal translation app for more than 70 languages, to translate text, voice, conversations, camera photos and screenshots. You can even download languages for offline translation for free to use when you travel!

What's a better translator than Google Translate? ›

If you want to find a free alternative to Google Translate, you can try Microsoft Translator, DeepL or another “free doc translator” online. For enterprise-level software, choose a premium Google Translate alternative such as Pairaphrase.

Is there a better free translator than Google? ›

We have compiled a list of solutions that reviewers voted as the best overall alternatives and competitors to Google Translate, including Microsoft Translator, Yandex. Translate, Amazon Translate, and IBM Watson Language Translator.

Is there a universal translator? ›

While a universal translator seems unlikely, due to the apparent need for telepathy, scientists continue to work towards similar real-world technologies involving small numbers of known languages.”

What is the best tool to translate text from one language to another? ›

1. Google Translate. Google Translate is a free online machine translation tool that helps you translate text, documents, and websites from one language to another. The tool is free and highly accessible, decorated with a simple and intuitive design.

Which Google documents allow text translation instantly? ›

Docs Paragraph Translate: Docs Paragraph Translate offers translation in many languages. Plus, it's simple to use, and it's built specifically for Google Docs.

How fast can a translator translate? ›

On average, a human translator can output 300 words per hour or 2,500 words per day. You also need to factor in some extra time for self-review of the work.

Can you translate in real time? ›

Real-time translation is the technology that can help you translate one language to another instantly. With the latest neural machine translation (NMT) platforms, two people can have a conversation in different languages with minimal delays or issues with accuracy.

How do you translate fast on iPhone? ›

Translate text in other apps
  1. On your iPhone, copy some text you want to translate.
  2. Go to your Homescreen.
  3. Firmly touch and hold the Google Translate app .
  4. Slide your finger over Paste and translate → [Language] and then let go.

Is there a texting app that automatically translates? ›

Slatch is a free messaging app featuring LIVE translation of messages and video chat! We connect you with not only your friends but the entire world!

Does iPhone have live translate? ›

You can instantly translate foreign language text to English and other languages using the iPhone's Camera app in iOS 16. Point the camera at the text you want to translate, tap the Text Selection icon and then tap Translate.

How do I make Safari automatically translate? ›

To translate in Safari, right-click on a page and select Translate this page and a translation bar displays below the address bar. Select the language to translate to in the translation bar, then click the Translate a webpage arrow.

What is instant translation? ›

Instant translation is machine translation, that's to say, it's generated by computers without editing from a human. Machine translation comes in many forms. You might use a website that you type into or an app that uses your camera to generate a live translation overlayed on the original image.

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Instantly speak over 40 languages with the all-new iTranslate Voice! Already trusted by Millions, the completely re-designed iTranslate Voice guarantees a flawless voice translation experience in over 40 languages. With more than 250 predefined phrases, our new Phrasebook is designed to help out in any situation.

What is the best real time translator app? ›

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  • Best for Accuracy: DeepL Translate.
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  • Best for Messaging: Language Translator.
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How can I translate an entire text? ›

  1. In your browser, go to Google Translate.
  2. At the top, click Documents.
  3. Choose the languages to translate to and from. ...
  4. Click Browse your computer.
  5. Select the file you want to translate.
  6. Click Translate and wait for the document to finish translating.

How can I translate subtitles faster? ›

To recap, here are two ways you can translate subtitles in SRT file format:
  1. use Notepad or any other word processor on your local device and copy-paste translations from Google Translate.
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