Siri is the universal voice assistant on Apple devices, and she keeps learning new tricks in every iteration. But many of her newfound capabilities often avoid notice in everyday use, despite being some really handy functionality. One of those new functions is the ability to translate between different languages. And it couldn’t be easier to use.
Ask Siri To Translate
In order to get Siri translate, all you have to do is ask. Let’s go through a typical translation session. First, summon Siri in the manner of your choosing, either through gestures, home button, or using “Hey Siri”.
Once Siri is at your beckon call, say this, “Translate I need a Taco into Spanish” (or your phrase of choice, of course, but I really do want a taco at this moment so that works for me). Siri will almost immediately respond with the translated phrase, and she will even speak the phrase for you. This is especially handy since you may not know what the correct pronunciation is for the given language, a very real potential language barrier that I have found bothersome when using a typical language phrasebook.
Siri’s response will stay on the screen, and it adds a play button so that you can replay the phrase without having to ask Siri again. This is very handy if you are using Siri as a translator with another person and they didn’t hear it the first time around. This is also convenient if you just want to repeat it to emphasize your statement, such as ordering from, let’s say, a wonderful Taco Food Truck (writing this is making me hungry).
Now, you don’t have to say “translate” as your initial command, since in testing I found that “Say”, “What is” and others worked fine. The important thing is the sentence format, which goes like this:
Command (phrase) in (language)
A Search Is a Wrong Result
If you don’t ask Siri to translate with the proper sentence structure, you will end up with her default response, which is a web search. While this can often be handy for wanted information, this is not what we want in this case. If this happens, double check what you are asking of Siri and be sure to start out the request with a command.
Seven Languages Are Supported
At the time of this writing, Siri will translate between seven different languages. The possible languages are Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese. This will let you order a Taco in many different languages all over the world, although I don’t think it will be as effective as doing it in Spanish. But to be fair, translating Moo Goo Gai Pan into Spanish probably is just as ineffective. (I digress, although a delicious Fish Taco would be nice right now.)
If you ask Siri to translate into a language she doesn’t support yet, she will post a response with the fact that she doesn’t speak that language and provide a list of what languages are supported.
As you can see, using Siri to translate between several different languages could not be easier. All you have to do is to summon Siri and ask her to do it. Siri will translate on the fly and even speak the response, making sure that the intended recipient understands the carefully pronounced translation. Now you can bravely converse with others despite not knowing the language, and if they have Siri as well the conversation can even be double-sided. While it’s not Star Trek Universal Translator handy, it is nice to know that the device already in your pocket can do the job.
With that said, please excuse me – I think I have a taco (or two) to find.
When he is not writing on his wife’s blog or has his head buried in software code, Greg Chaffins can be found celebrating nerdy things on his own website, NerdBeach.