How to use the Translate app on iPhone – iMore

Ios 14 Translate AppSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

When Apple launched iOS 14, it brought about many welcome new features, such as widgets on the Home screen and the App Library, a compact UI for incoming phone calls and Siri, and tons of Messages improvements. But another big addition is the Translate app, as I mentioned in my iOS 14 review.

Even though a lot of us may not have done a lot of traveling in the past year, the Translate app is going to be one of those invaluable tools when we can roam abroad without worry again. Here’s everything you need to know about how to use the Translate app for iPhone.

Translate App for iPhone: Requirements

In order to use the Translate app for iPhone, you’ll need to have the best iPhone running iOS 14 on it. Translate is not available on the iPad or iPod touch. The following is a list of iPhones that are capable of running iOS 14:

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  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)

Translate App for iPhone: How to select your languages

The Translate app for iPhone currently supports 11 languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin, Simplified), English (United States and United Kingdom), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. You can select which language you’re speaking, and what you need it translated into.

  1. Launch the Translate app on your iPhone.
  2. To select the first language, tap the language at the top left.
  3. To select the language to translate into, tap on the language in the top right.
  4. To make things even easier, you can scroll down on either language option and tap Automatic Detection to turn it on. When this feature is on, the Translate app automatically detects which of the two languages is currently being spoken.

Translate App for iPhone: How to translate phrases

Once you have chosen your preferred languages from the steps above, you are ready to start translating.

  1. Tap on the blue microphone button and say the phrase that you need to translate.
  2. The Translate app can automatically detect when someone stops speaking, and your translated phrase appears on the screen underneath the original phrase, along with an audio playback.
  3. You can also tap the bottom area to type the word or phrase you need to translate.

Once you start translating, you can bookmark certain phrases for quick reference later, or even look up dictionary definitions.

  1. To favorite a phrase for later, tap the star icon underneath the translation.
  2. To look up definitions, tap the book icon underneath the translation.
  3. For the dictionary feature, tap the word that you want to look up.
  4. You can also tap the Play button to repeat the translation.

Translate App for iPhone: How to access your Favorite translations

When you have favorited a translated phrase, it makes it easier to pull up whenever you need it, rather than having to speak or type out that phrase over and over again. This is especially useful when frequently traveling to places where you don’t know the native language.

  1. Launch Translate on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Favorites tab at the bottom.
  3. Favorited phrases appear at the top. Underneath is the Recents section, where you get a history of your translations so far.

    If one of your favorite phrases has multiple options, you can tap on the specific phrase that you mean. This is especially helpful for things like “bathroom.”

Translate App for iPhone: How to have a conversation translated in real-time

One of the coolest things about the Translate app for iPhone is that you can use it to hold conversations with someone in real-time. Here’s how to do just that.

  1. Launch Translate on your iPhone.
  2. Ensure that Rotation Lock is OFF — otherwise, this feature won’t work.
  3. Turn your iPhone into Landscape Orientation.
  4. Place the iPhone between you and the other person.
  5. Tap the blue microphone button and start speaking.
  6. After one person is done speaking, the translation appears on-screen and is played back.
  7. If you want the translated text to appear larger and easier to read, tap the Maximizer button (two arrows pointing out).

    To return to the regular view, tap the Conversation button (it has two speech bubbles).

    Translate App for iPhone: How to download languages to use offline

The Translate app for iPhone requires an internet connection to work. However, you can always download the languages you need so that translation always works, even if you don’t have a data connection.

  1. Launch Translate on your iPhone.
  2. Tap one of the language boxes at the top.
  3. Scroll down until you reach the Available Offline Languages section.
  4. Tap the download icon on the language you want to download.

Translate App for iPhone: Questions?

Using the Translate app on the iPhone is pretty easy and straightforward. It’s also fantastic that it is now built in to iOS itself, and you don’t have to rely on a third-party app. If you still have questions about how to use the Translate app, drop them in the comments.