With iOS 11, Apple is working hard towards breaking down language barriers to bring people closer together than ever before, as evidenced by Siri's newfound ability to directly translate words and phrases in different languages. In the near future, it's easy to imagine Siri as our very own real-life BabelFish.
In the past, asking Siri to translate anything would cause her to pull up relevant external links for you to tap on and read over. With iOS 11 on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Siri is now able to translate a phrase and communicate it directly to you to give you a better understanding in terms of pronunciation and other nuances common in foreign languages.
As with anything iOS-related, it's very easy to use Siri's automatic translation feature. First, just make sure Siri is set to use US English as the default language. Right now translations only work from English to one of the supported foreign languages (more on that later).
With the right language in place, simply say "Hey, Siri" or pull up the Siri screen by doing a long-press on the home button, then ask her something like "How do you say Which way to the bathroom? in Chinese" — or request any language you prefer. You can also type your question to Siri if you'd like, using the new Type to Siri feature — a great new improvement.
Siri will then translate the word, phrase, or sentence for you as both text and audio that you can read through and replay as needed.
Siri's language comprehension is excellent and has the uncanny ability to translate a slew of random phrases, which is sure to come in especially handy for any tourist that may need assistance in varying degrees while vacationing abroad.
Siri's new automatic translation is undeniably impressive, but it's not without its faults. The most obvious shortcoming with this feature so far is that it's limited in scope with regards to the languages it can translate. So far, Siri offers translations in French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.
Fortunately, iOS 11 is still in beta, so we can expect additional language support and further improvements to be rolled out as this feature is further refined. How soon these improvements will be implemented, though, is anyone's guess. Which language would you like for Apple to prioritize over others as it continues to work on Siri's automatic translations? Let us know by posting a comment down below.
Have an iPhone? Check out all 200+ new features coming in iOS 13.