First introduced with the iPhone 4s in October 2011, Apple’s assistant has begun to feel like something of an afterthought. However, with the introduction of iOS 11, that has started to change, thanks to new features such as Siri Translation. Now you can ask for English to be changed into different languages via typing or voice commands.
Before the first public beta, developers can see how much Siri has changed. However, now with a public version of the beta released, anyone can use the assistant with a compatible iOS device. Initial reactions suggest that Apple has done a fantastic job worthy of calling it a game-changer for Siri. Yes, there have been many changes to the assistant, but for us, Siri Translation is the most notable.
How does it work?
The feature works with ease; however, in practice, you can either say something to the assistant or type it. Siri then works as you would expect it to. For example, if you’re in Germany, you say to Siri, “Translate, ‘where is the Bathroom into German.'” Or if visiting Rome, “‘How do I get to the Coliseum’ into Italian.”
Then you will be given an on-screen translation, including an audio version spoken aloud by Siri. The voice version can be repeated with the push of a button. If you give this a try, you will notice that a natural-sounding voice accompanies the new language abilities. Along with the voice and translation, Siri is capable of improved inflection and pronunciation, which means a better experience.
While Siri Translation is an undeniably worthy upgrade, right now due to its beta nature, it is limited because the number of languages it can help you is rather limited. As I type this, the list contains: French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.
This feature is also limited because it is unable to translate from those languages to English. Apple has suggested that it is working on increasing the number of compatible languages and adding new features.
How to use Siri Translation
To use this new feature, you must have the assistant activated. If you don’t have it activated, go to Settings >> Siri on your iPhone or iPad to activate the assistant. Then just work your way through the setup process.
Once the assistant is activated, all you need to do to invoke Siri is to long-press the Home button or say “Hey, Siri.” Then you can begin to use Siri Translation for any of the five languages previously mentioned.
As the very first modern smartphone assistant, Siri has always been a useful tool for device owners. However, now with iOS 11, you certainly get the feeling that Apple’s focus on machine learning has made a significant difference. Underpinning this difference is the company’s use of the CoreML framework, which in turn made Siri much smarter.
Is this as smart and full of features as the assistant is going to get? We sincerely doubt it; after all, it is still in beta. This means changes and further language support will probably arrive and be refined. The real question is how long we will have to wait to see them. Unfortunately, we have no answer for that, but as always, will keep you apprised of any changes we discover.
In the meantime, use the comments section below to share your experiences with and hopes for Siri Translation.