How to do a voice translation on your iPhone in 2 different apps, and even let it translate a full conversation

AppleIt’s easy to perform voice translations on an iPhone.
  • You can do voice translations on your iPhone using iOS 14’s new Translate app.
  • To do a voice translation, you just need to open the app, select your languages, and tap the microphone icon.
  • The Google Translate app also offers voice translations, but you’ll need to download the app from the App Store.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

There are dozens of translation apps available for the iPhone, and they all include features that make translating easy. For example: voice translations, which let the app translate everything you say aloud.

Google Translate used to be the sole king of iPhone translation apps. But iOS 14 introduced Apple’s own app, just called Translate. The app’s bare-bones interface lets you select which languages to translate to and from. Then you can either speak aloud or type in a phrase to receive its translation. Translations are delivered in bold blue text that you can also have read to you.

The Translate app doesn’t support as many languages or features as Google Translate does, but Translate has the benefit of not needing to be downloaded in advance — it comes pre-installed on all new iPhones, and any phone upgraded to iOS 14.

Both apps also offer a mode that lets you hold a conversation with someone who speaks a different language, without having to constantly switch your target language.

How to do voice translations on an iPhone in the Translate app

To use the Translate app, you’ll have to first update to iOS 14. If your iPhone can’t run iOS 14, skip to the Google Translate section below.

1. Open “Translate.”

2. At the top, set the languages you want to translate to and from. Tap the language icons to see your options.

How to do voice translation on iPhone 1Vivian McCall/Business InsiderThe Translate app supports some of the most commonly spoken languages in the world.

3. Tap the microphone icon at the bottom of the screen, and say what you need to have translated.

4. The translation will appear in bold blue text. Tap the blue play button to hear it read to you.

How to do voice translation on iPhone 3Vivian McCall/Business InsiderIf you think you’ll be needing this translation a lot, you can add it to a Favourites list.

5. You can also flip the iPhone into landscape mode, then tap the icon that looks like two arrows facing away from each other — this will make the translated text bigger and easier to read.

How to do voice translation on iPhone 5(1)Vivian McCall/Business InsiderPressing this will only show the translation, not the source phrase.

You can also turn on “Automatic Detection,” which will make it so you don’t need to keep switching the “To” and “From” languages. When you tap the microphone icon and speak, the app will detect which one is being spoken automatically. This is great for having conversations, as you’ll only need to tap the microphone button to translate everything.

To turn this feature on, tap one of the languages at the top of the screen, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and toggle “Automatic Detection” on.

How to do voice translation on iPhone 4Vivian McCall/Business InsiderFlip the ‘Automatic Detection’ switch.

How to do voice translations on an iPhone the Google Translate app

Google Translate offers its own voice translation feature.

1. Open Google Translate.

2. At the top of the screen, pick the languages you want to translate from and to. Tap either preset language name to see the full list. You can select “Detect language” from the starting language list if you don’t know what’s being spoken.

3. Once you’ve picked, tap the “Voice” option on the right side of the screen, and then say the phrase you want translated. Tap the red microphone icon when you’re done.

How to do voice translation on iPhone 11William Antonelli/Business InsiderSelect the ‘Voice’ option to speak into the microphone.

4. The translation will appear in a box below. Tap the speaker icon to have it read aloud to you, the G icon to search it on Google, the share icon to send it, the box-like icon to make it bigger, or the icon that looks like two pages to copy it.

How to do voice translation on iPhone 33William Antonelli/Business InsiderYou’ll have a variety of options once the translation is done.

The Google Translate app also offers “Conversation” mode, which turns the app into an active translator while you and another person talk. Once you turn it on, the app will detect which of the two selected languages are being spoken and translate for you.

1. Open Google Translate and pick your languages, and then tap the “Conversation” icon. A new menu will open with three microphones at the bottom of the screen.

2. To translate from the first language to the second, tap the left microphone. To translate from the second language to the first, tap the right microphone. Once someone finishes speaking, the app will automatically read the translation aloud.

3. If you want both parties to speak at the same time, tap the microphone in the middle.

How to do voice translation on iPhone 44William Antonelli/Business InsiderUse the three microphones to conduct your conversation.

If for some reason you need to explain how this mode works to the other party, tap the question mark icon in the top-right. This will translate a short message about conversation mode into the target language. You can tap the speaker icon to have this message read aloud.

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