Apple is adopting Google Translate and other translation services and utilities by creating its own translation integration in iOS 14. There is a new app in iOS 14 on the iPhone that allows you to easily translate blocks of text or speech directly into one of the supported languages , or use Safari on iOS 14 on an iPhone or iPad to easily translate websites into another supported language.
The best part of Apple’s translation app and service is that it’s not really a service, rather, the translation is done on the device, which makes it easy to download specific languages and translate voice, text or conversation when you are in an area with mobile phone restrictions (often when traveling overseas).
I’ll look at how to use both of these tools to enable easier communication between two native speakers (or website content). Plus, it’s all built right into your device without the need for additional steps.
How to get the Apple Translate app
By default, Apple’s translation app is installed on your iPhone when you upgrade to iOS 14; however, if you have deleted the app, you can easily reinstall it from the App Store by searching for “Apple Translate” in the search field and reinstall it by tapping the download button or by going to this App Store link .
How to translate text with the Apple Translate app
Text, words and small paragraphs are very often the things that need quick translations when reading or having a quick conversation with someone. The Apple Translate app can handle this task easily.
Opening the Translator app will present you with an “Insert Text” prompt. Two buttons at the top allow you to switch between the entered language text and the language into which the text is to be translated.
Select one of the languages by tapping the left button and select a language (you can choose between Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Simplified Chinese, British English, American English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).
By default, the app will automatically detect the language you entered, but you can disable this feature by tapping the language button at the top, then scroll down and disable the switch for “Auto Detect”.
Whenever you enter text and perform a translation, you will be presented with a tab showing the translation at the top of the screen and you will have the option to add a translation to your favorites for later by tapping the star icon; tapping the book icon will present a dictionary view that allows you to tap individual words to get their definition, useful when the translation takes you to a word you don’t know; finally, by tapping the Play button, Siri will recite the translated text to you.
Any text that has been added to favorites will appear in the “Favorites” tab available at the bottom of the screen; this view also shows all recent translations that have been done in the app.
How to translate conversations with the Apple Translate app
One of the most advanced capabilities of the Translator app is the ability to use your device to facilitate in-person communication, allowing two native speakers to carry on a conversation in real time.
Enter this mode by turning your device horizontally. Two large blocks of text will appear, one for you (left) and one for the other speaker (right). Tap the microphone icon to start the conversation process.
As you speak, the text is automatically translated into the second language so that the native speaker can read what you said in their own language. They can then tap the microphone icon and speak in their native language and their text will be transcribed into your language for you to read and respond to. During the translation process, the other speaker can tap the play button to have the translation speak in their own language. You can continue this process and carry out near real-time communication in person.
You can also use this feature to easily grab someone’s attention (for example, order at a native speaker restaurant). Flip the device horizontally, tap the microphone icon to speak, then tap the expand icon in the bottom left. The translated text will be presented in full screen for easier visibility.
How to download languages for offline translation
The Apple Translate app works fine for communication, but what if you want to take the app to a country or place where you don’t have a cellular service to do the translation? Fortunately, Apple has thought of this and has a solution: you can download supported languages and take them on the road with you in offline mode.
To download supported languages to your device and use them offline, simply tap the language selection at the top of the screen, then scroll down to the lower section labeled “Languages available offline“(Some languages may not be available in offline mode, but the supported ones are listed here)
Tap the download button next to the languages you want to download, and once the process is complete, the translation can be managed when no cellular or Wi-Fi connection is available for your iOS device. If you want to delete the downloaded language, simply swipe left on the name, then select “Delete”.
How to translate websites with Safari on iOS and iPadOS 14
As you browse the web, you may come across websites written in a different language. When this happens, you can either copy and paste the text between the website and the Translator app, or get frustrated and move to another website. There is a better way, however, as Apple has a translation built into the Safari web browser. of iOS and iPadOS 14.
Whenever you come across a website written in a language other than yours, you can easily translate the entire website into your language for ease of reading by doing the following:
- Select the text button on the left side of the address / search bar
- Select “Translate to X” (where X is the language your device is set to)
After doing this, the website will be reloaded and translated on the fly into the language of your device. This feature is currently in beta, so if you experience a problem with the translation process, you can report the issues directly to Apple by tapping the text button again and selecting “Report Translation Problem”. The URL will be passed to Apple and will use the report to make this feature more robust in the future.