If you’ve not updated to iOS 11 yet, you will do after reading this! The latest Apple update brings brand-new functionality to the world’s favourite virtual assistant, Siri, in the form of translation features that let Siri translate English phrases and words into a couple of other languages.

Whether you’re off on your travels this holiday season, doing business with a different country, or want to impress the girl next door, Siri’s translation is your new best friend. The feature is super-simple to use and while the translations may not always be on point, they do get the gist of what you want to say to someone in another language.

A Guide to Using Siri’s Translation Features

Thanks to the iOS 11 update, Siri can now translate from English into Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Mandarin, and Apple has reported that it intends to roll out more languages over time.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the feature:

  • Hold down your iPhone’s Home button, or simply say “Hey, Siri.”
  • Say something along the lines of “Translate (word/phrase) into (your desired language)
  • Tap the Play button if you want Siri to say the phrase again

If you prefer to type to Siri as opposed to speaking, the translation feature works pretty much the same way, except that you type your question, word, or phrase, instead of speaking it.

The feature, called Siri Translation, seems to pair seamlessly with iOS 11’s updates, particularly when it comes to follow-up questions. For example, you can ask Siri, “how do you say ‘where’s the zoo in Italian,” and Siri will give you the answer. You can then tap the Siri button again and say something along the lines of, “how about in German?” and Siri will give you the Italian translation.

What’s more, if you keep asking Siri to translate phrases or words without leaving your first session, Siri will keep on translating in the most recent language that you asked for without needing you to tell it again.

Apps and Translation Come in Handy

Apple seems to be using an in-house translation engine for its latest feature since the translations don’t match up exactly with those from popular services such as Bing Translate or Google Translate. We should also note that while Siri is able to translate from English to the abovementioned languages, the translation feature does not work with the Australian, British, or Canadian English settings.

You also cannot translate something back into English. So, if you ask Siri for directions to the train station in Mandarin, Siri cannot (yet) translate the reply from Mandarin to English. If this is what you need, there are third party translation apps on the market they are worth trying.

But, this is certainly the begging of Siri’s translation abilities and we’re sure it’s going to improve with time.

Have you used Siri’s translation feature yet? Are you planning on using it in your next global conference call?