Using Siri, you can translate words and phrases from English into several other languages.
These include English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Arabic, Portuguese and Russian.
In this article, we trigger Siri using the “Hey Siri” voice command. Did you know there are other methods available, depending on your device? You can read about them all in our how to use Siri guide.
Translation in the reverse direction, from another language into English, isn’t currently available.
On release, translate only worked when Siri was set to English (United States). Later updates added the feature to more languages, such as English (United Kingdom). So if you find Siri translate doesn’t work with your default language settings, you’ll need to set them to English (United States).
- Open Settings on your device.
- Navigate to Siri & Search.
- Under Language select English (United States).
How to use Siri Translate
- Activate Siri by holding down the side/home button or saying “Hey Siri”. (Not sure how to do this? Check out our how to activate Siri, and how to use Siri guides).
- Speak the phrase you want to translate, preceded by “how do I say” or “translate” followed by the language you want it translated to.
Hey Siri, how do I say ‘where is the nearest hotel‘ in German?
Hey Siri, translate ‘I would like to book a table for two at your restaurant please‘ into French
Siri will respond by reading out the translation and displaying the text on the screen. To play the audio again, press the play button located at the bottom right of the translation.
You can also follow up on your initial translation request by asking for the same phrase in another language.
For example, while the results screen is still displayed, say:
Siri will then update the audio and text phrase.
Despite a few limitations, translation using Siri is accurate and well implemented. As long as Apple continues to add further languages and include reverse translation in the future, it can only grow in usefulness.
New Translate app coming soon in iOS 14
The upcoming release of iOS 14 promises some welcome upgrades to Siri translate. It features the ability to save language packs to your device for offline usage. Great when traveling to areas with a poor internet connection.
How to convert phrases in the new iOS 14 Siri Translate app
Simply say the words you want the other person to hear, then your iPhone will convert them into their language.
In portrait mode, the display splits into two halves. The top half shows the current languages you’re using, plus the phrase and its translation. The bottom half contains a microphone button and the text box if you want to type in your query.
- Tap the microphone button, speak the phrase, and the translation should appear on the screen.
- Tap the Play icon below the translation to hear it read out loud by Siri. This is useful for your own reference, and to play to the person you’re speaking with.
Rotating the iPhone so that the display is in landscape view puts it in Attention mode. The screen displays the translation in larger text.
How to use Conversation mode in Siri Translate
Landscape view can also be used for Conversation mode. This displays a thread of your phrases and their translations across a given conversation. Useful for tracking what’s already been said.
How to use Siri Translate offline
For those occasions where you want to use Siri Translate, and you have no internet connection, there’s the On-device mode. This feature allows you to download language packs to your device, so you can access translation features when a signal isn’t available.
As the translations are processed on your device, no information is sent to the servers, which is better for your security and privacy.
How to save Favorites in Siri Translate
Apple has also included the ability to save Favorites, ideal if you’re going to be saying the same phrase repeatedly.
You create a favorite by tapping on the star icon below the translation. Access your favorites by tapping the star icon at the bottom of the screen.