Apple’s iOS 14 operating system brings with it an all-new Translate app, which enables real-time translations between a handful of languages. Here’s how to make the most of Translate in iOS 14.

Lost in translation

Translate initially supports 11 languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian.

Note that Translate is currently iPhone-only. If you were planning on taking an iPad on your next overseas holiday for conversational purposes, you’re out of luck!

Using voice or text translation

Translate enables you to use either text or vocal inputs for your translation requests. After you’ve set the languages you want to translate between by tapping the top left and right boxes, follow these guidelines:

If you want to use text, tap on the Enter text field at the bottom and type out the word or sentence you’d like translating, followed by Go. The translation will appear in blue, and you can have it read out to you by hitting the Play button.

If you’d prefer to have your translation request transcribed, hit the microphone button at the bottom of the screen and speak the word or sentence you’d like translated. The translation will be read back to you automatically, as well as being displayed in blue.

 

Switching modes

The aptly-named Conversation and Attention modes make your translations more practical and transactional. Both are accessed simply by rotating your device into landscape orientation.

Conversation mode listens out for two languages simultaneously, translating between the two in real-time. Cleverly, the app will automatically detect which of the two chosen languages you’re speaking in – so you won’t need to keep switching settings if you’re trying to have a fluid conversation across two languages.

Simply tap on the top left language selection box, scroll to the bottom, and ensure that Automatic Detection is activated. Now select the other language in the top right box, and rotate your iPhone into landscape to start Conversation mode. Tap the microphone button before each person talks, and your iPhone will automatically translate.

Attention mode simply expands the translation part of this equation and minimizes everything else, making it much clearer and easier to ask questions of locals in their language. To access this, simply obtain a translation, tilt your phone on its side, and tap the expand button in the bottom left.

On-device translation

Mobile or Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t always possible when traveling, so Translate comes with offline functionality. It also lets you look up word definitions.

While connected to the internet over Wi-Fi (or cellular if you have a generous data allowance), tap one of the language selection boxes at the top. Scroll down and tap the Download arrow next to the languages you wish to be made available offline.

For definitions of translated words, simply tap on a word from one of the translations, and a dictionary explanation will appear.