One of the most labor intensive aspects of gf life is reading labels. We spend (and waste) TOO much time in stores inspecting ingredient lists hoping to find something to eat.
In my case I always wonder if people think I’m crazy for squinting at each product while my daughter starts to get cranky in the supermarket.
But there are two tools that help navigate those tricky lists.
In Part 1 of this post we’ll explain how to use the Google Translate App and in Part 2 we’ll break down the Japanese Allergen labeling system so you can make each store visit a little less painful and time consuming.
Part 1: Google Translate is your friend!
If you’re using your phone in the supermarket you can use the camera function on the Google Translate app to take pictures of ingredient lists.
Honestly this is NOT the most reliable method of translation and sometimes some funny things come up. BUT if you are in a pinch and the lists aren’t TOO long, it is a useful tool.
How it works
Step 1: Open Google Translate app and click on the camera button
Tip: Go to the settings and download the Japanese dictionary under “Offline Translation”
Step 2: Align camera on text or ingredient list
Tip: Look for 原材料名 (genzairyo-mei) “raw ingredients name”
Step 3: Highlight Japanese text with your finger
Tip: Use your finger to paint in the area you want translated. Try to make sure you get every character in the area. If you accidentally swipe random areas or characters, it’s best to start over or you will get some funky translations.
Step 4: Click on the English translation to view all text
Step 5: View translation and double check for errors or odd results
Tip: Make sure the commas on the packaging are in the same places as your translation. This often creates some translation mistakes. You can manually fix them in the top box.
It’s not the easiest method but it will definitely make life a little better to have this tool in your gf survival repertoire.
FYI: You can also use Google Translate on a desktop computer to translate any language by copy and pasting text.