If your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 11, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, then you’ve got a built-in translation feature through the voice assistant Siri! Using this, you can find out how to say words and phrases in the currently supported languages: German, French, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. And while Siri won’t yet translate the other way—meaning that you can’t have someone in France speak into your iPhone to carry on a conversation—this feature could still be very useful when you travel.
To check it out, start by invoking Siri on your device; on the iPhone X, you’ll hold down the side button and start talking.
For all other iPhone and iPad models, hold down the Home button instead.
Whichever way you do it, though, you can either choose to release the button as soon as Siri comes up, or you could keep holding the button down as you talk. I prefer the latter, as then the voice assistant won’t assume any pauses mean you’re done speaking! You’ll just release the button whenever you’re finished, which I think is a much easier method. But anyhow, one way to ask Siri to translate something for you is to just say “translate” followed by the word or phrase you want and the language you need it put into, like so:
The red arrow in my screenshot above is pointing out a small “play” button, too. If your device isn’t muted, Siri will speak the translation automatically, but if you’d like to hear it again, just tap that button. So if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t speak the local language, you can have Siri talk for you! Very cool. At least I don’t have to worry about not finding coffee the next time I’m in France.
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