How to Use Siri’s New Translation Feature in iOS 11

iOS 11 brings new functionality to Siri, including a translation feature that allows Siri to translate words and phrases spoken in English to a handful of other languages. Translation is super simple to use, and while the translations aren't always perfect, they get the gist of what you're attempting to say across to someone who speaks another language.


Using Siri Translate



  1. Activate Siri, either by holding down the Home button or using a "Hey Siri" command.

  2. Tell Siri the phrase you want to translate and the language you want it in. For example: "Siri, how do I say where's the bathroom in Spanish?"

  3. Siri will respond with the appropriate translation, both in text form and vocally. The vocal component can be replayed by pressing the play button located at the bottom of the translation.

  4. There are multiple ways to phrase your translation requests. Siri will respond to "Translate X to X language" or "How do I say X in X language?"

Available Languages


Siri can translate English to Mandarin, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. There's no two-way translation available yet - it's only English to the above listed languages. Apple has said it plans to add additional languages to the Siri translation feature following the release of iOS 11.

Apple appears to be using an in-house translation engine for Siri, as the translations do not match up with translations provided by popular services like Google Translate or Bing Translate. Also of note, while Siri can translate from English to several other languages, the translation features do not work with British, Canadian, or Australian English settings.

Because Siri speaks translations aloud, the translation feature can come in handy when traveling and trying to get simple communications across. It's a simple addition, but one that may go a long way towards making Siri more useful.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Apple’s Greg Joswiak on Siri: We Deliver a Personalized Experience Without Treating You as a Product

Ahead of the launch of iOS 11, Apple VP of marketing Greg Joswiak sat down with several publications to talk about Siri, the personal assistant built into all major Apple devices. His interview with Wired was published last week, and today, Fast Company published its interview, in which Joswiak talks Siri and privacy, among other topics.

It's been long believed that Apple's Siri development has been hindered by the company's deep commitment to privacy, but according to Joswiak, privacy, respect for user data, and an intelligent AI can co-exist.


"I think it's a false narrative," he told Fast Company. "We're able to deliver a very personalized experience... without treating you as a product that keeps your information and sells it to the highest bidder. That's just not the way we operate."

Much of Apple's Siri functionality is done on-device, rather than in the cloud like other services. In Apple's 2017 software updates, that's shifting slightly with the company planning to allow Siri to communicate across devices to learn more about users. Still, many things, like Siri's ability to find photos with a specific photo or date are powered on-device.
"Your device is incredibly powerful, and it's even more powerful with each generation," Joswiak said. "And with our focus on privacy, we're able to really take advantage of exploiting that power with things like machine learning on your device to create an incredible experience without having to compromise your data."
Apple does use the cloud to answer requests and to train Siri, but it strips all user identifiable data. All Siri requests are stripped of user ID and supplied with a random request ID, with the request then encrypted and sent to the cloud. Apple stores six months of voice recordings to allow its voice recognition engine to get a better understanding of users. A second copy of recordings can be stored for up to two years, also with the aim of improving Siri.

"We leave out identifiers to avoid tying utterances to specific users so we can do a lot of machine learning and a lot of things in the cloud without having to know that it came from [the user]," said Joswiak.

Alongside Joswiak, Apple's Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software weighed in on Siri's future in an email to Fast Company. "Siri is no longer just a voice assistant," he said. "Siri on-device intelligence is streamlining everyday interactions with our devices."

He went on to say that with iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, users will "experience even more Siri functionality." He went on to say that in the "years to come," Siri functionality will be "ever more integral" to the core user experience on all of the company's platforms, from Mac to iPhone to Apple TV.

Federighi and Joswiak's full Siri interview, which provides more insight into the inner workings of Siri and Apple's commitment to privacy, can be read over at Fast Company.

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Apple’s Greg Joswiak: Siri Wasn’t Engineered to Be Trivial Pursuit

In iOS 11, Apple's AI-based personal assistant Siri has a much more natural voice that goes a long way towards making Siri sound human like. Siri speaks with a faster, smoother cadence with elongated syllables and pitch variation, a noticeable departure from the more machine like sound in iOS 10.

The team behind Siri, including Siri senior director Alex Acero, has worked for years to improve the way Siri speaks, according to a new interview Acero did alongside Apple VP of marketing Greg Joswiak with Wired. While Siri's voice recognition capabilities were powered by a third-party company early on in Siri's life, Acero's team took over Siri development a few years back, leading to several improvements to the personal assistant since then.

Siri is powered by deep learning and AI, technology that has much improved her speech recognition capabilities. According to Wired, Siri's raw voice recognition capabilities are now able to correctly identify 95 percent of users' speech, on par with rivals like Alexa and Cortana.

Apple is still working to overcome negative perceptions about Siri, and blames many of the early issues on the aforementioned third-party partnership.
"It was like running a race and, you know, somebody else was holding us back," says Greg Joswiak, Apple's VP of product marketing. Joswiak says Apple always had big plans for Siri, "this idea of an assistant you could talk to on your phone, and have it do these things for you in a more easy way," but the tech just wasn't good enough. "You know, garbage in, garbage out," he says.
Joswiak says Apple's aim from the beginning has been to make Siri a "get-s**t-done" machine. "We didn't engineer this thing to be Trivial Pursuit!" he told Wired. Apple wants Siri to serve as an automated friend that can help people do more.


One unique Siri attribute is its ability to work in multiple languages. Siri supports English, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Cantonese, Finnish, Hebrew, Malay, Arabic, Italian, and Spanish, and more, including dialect variants (like English in the UK and Australia) and accents. The Siri team combines pre-existing databases of local speech with local voice talent and on-device dictation, transcribing and dissecting the content to find all of the individual sounds in a given language and all of the ways those sounds are pronounced.

In areas where Apple offers spoken dictation but no Siri support, it's gathering data for future Siri support, and in places where Siri is already available, spoken interactions between user and device (gathered anonymously) are used to improve algorithms and train the company's neural network.

Creating the right voice for Siri in a given language hinges on the proper voice talent, and Apple uses an "epic search" with hundreds of people to find someone who sounds helpful, friendly, spunky, and happy without overdoing it. Once the right person is found, Apple records them for weeks at a time to create the right sound. So far, Apple has repeated this process for all 21 languages Siri supports.

Ultimately, Acero and his Siri team are aiming to make Siri sound more like a trusted person than a robot, creating an attachment to the AI that will "make Siri great" even when Siri fails to answer a query properly. Apple also wants to make people more aware of what Siri can and can't do and that it exists in the first place, which is why iOS 11 includes Siri-centric features like cross-device syncing and a better understanding of user interests and preferences.

Wired's full piece, which goes into much more detail on how Siri recognizes various aspects of speech and how Apple chooses voice talent can be read over on the site.

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Apple Acknowledges Siri Leadership Has Officially Moved From Eddy Cue to Craig Federighi

Apple has updated its executive profiles to acknowledge that software engineering chief Craig Federighi now officially oversees development of Siri. The responsibility previously belonged to Apple's services chief Eddy Cue.

Craig Federighi is Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. Craig oversees the development of iOS, macOS, and Siri. His teams are responsible for delivering the software at the heart of Apple’s innovative products, including the user interface, applications and frameworks.
Apple's leadership page is only now reflecting Federighi's role as head of Siri, but the transition has been apparent for several months, based on recent interviews and stage appearances at Apple's keynotes.

At WWDC 2016, for example, Federighi and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber to discuss how Apple was opening Siri up to third-party developers with SiriKit later that year.

At WWDC 2017, Federighi was on stage to discuss improvements to Siri in iOS 11, including more natural voice, built-in translation capabilities, and advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Cue continues to oversee the iTunes Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple Maps, iCloud, and the iWork and iLife suites of apps, and handing off Siri should allow him to focus more on Apple's push into original content.

Apple's updated leadership page also now lists profiles for recent hires Deirdre O'Brien, Vice President of People, and Isabel Ge Mahe, Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China.


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Apple Updates Machine Learning Journal With Three Articles on Siri Technology

Back in July, Apple introduced the "Apple Machine Learning Journal," a blog detailing Apple's work on machine learning, AI, and other related topics. The blog is written entirely by Apple's engineers, and gives them a way to share their progress and interact with other researchers and engineers.

Apple today published three new articles to the Machine Learning Journal, covering topics that are based on papers Apple will share this week at Interspeech 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden.


The first article may be the most interesting to casual readers, as it explores the deep learning technology behind the Siri voice improvements introduced in iOS 11. The other two articles cover the technology behind the way dates, times, and other numbers are displayed, and the work that goes into introducing Siri in additional languages.

Links to all three articles are below:

Apple is notoriously secret and has kept its work under wraps for many years, but over the course of the last few months, the company has been open to sharing some of its machine learning advancements. The blog, along with research papers, allows Apple engineers to participate in the wider AI community and may help the company retain employees who do not want to keep their progress a secret.


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Apple AI Expert’s Full TED Talk Now Available on YouTube

Back in April, Apple product designer and Siri co-founder Tom Gruber gave a TED Talk, where he spoke about his vision of the future of computers and artificial intelligence.

The full 10-minute TED Talk was today published on YouTube, giving us a chance to hear his complete thoughts on the future of AI and Siri.


In his talk, Gruber says computers should be used to lessen human failings, like memory, and augment human capabilities. He believes computers should log all aspects of our lives, allowing us to remember the people we've met and details about them, like favorite sports, family members, and name pronunciation.

Gruber's talk also covers the importance of privacy and a range of useful applications for AI, like cancer detection and advanced personal assistants like Siri.


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New ‘The Rock x Siri’ Ads Highlights Siri’s HomeKit and Multi-Language Support

Apple today uploaded two additional videos in its series that stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Apple's personal assistant Siri, both of which are meant to show off Siri's range of functionality.

In the first video, The Rock uses Siri to activate the HomeKit-connected lights in his gym, and in the second, he speaks in Mandarin, demonstrating Siri's ability to work with multiple languages.


Support for multiple languages is one of the main differentiating factors between Siri and other voice-based AI assistants like Alexa and Cortana.


Both of today's videos are new, but look similar to scenes that were in the original "The Rock x Siri Dominate the Day" spot, which is three and a half minutes in length. In the first ad, The Rock is seen using Siri throughout an entire day as he commandeers a plane, cooks a meal in a high-end restaurant, and ends up in space.


Apple yesterday shared three other short ads depicting The Rock asking the personal assistant to set a reminder, set a timer, and take a selfie.

Apple's partnership with The Rock to highlight Siri features comes as Apple gears up to release its first Siri-based speaker at the end of this year, the HomePod. Siri is also an important part of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, with Apple undoubtedly hoping to increase awareness about all of the things Siri can do through the ad series.

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Apple Shares Three Short ‘The Rock x Siri’ Ads

Apple today uploaded three short 15 second ads in its "The Rock x Siri" series, with content that's been pulled from the main three minute "The Rock x Siri Dominate the Day" video, which was originally released on July 23.

Each video features one short scene from the original ad, with the Rock interacting with Siri to set a reminder, take a selfie, and set a timer.




Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson originally teased his partnership with Apple and Siri as a movie, complete with a movie poster, but it turned out that instead of a short film, his feature with Apple was simply an ad spot.

"I partnered with #Apple to make the BIGGEST, COOLEST, CRAZIEST, DOPEST, MOST OVER THE TOP, FUNNEST (is that even a word?) movie ever," The Rock wrote on Facebook ahead of the ad's launch.

Apple is using The Rock to show off the range of tasks that can be completed using the Siri personal assistant built in to the iPhone and the iPad. "You should never, ever, under any circumstances underestimate how much Dwayne Johnson can get done in a day with Siri," reads the description for the first video.

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Facebook Hiring Apple Veterans to Build ‘Siri-Style’ Voice Assistant for Two Home Speaker Devices

Last week, a source in the Taiwanese supply chain reported that Facebook has entered into small production on a smart home speaker with a touchscreen, preparing to compete with companies like Apple and Amazon in the smart speaker market. A report by Bloomberg this week has continued that rumor, and added onto it by claiming the company is in fact working on two separate speaker devices to release to the public, and that it's hiring from Apple to get a "Siri-style" AI voice assistant up and running for the devices' launch.

Coming out of Facebook's Building 8 lab, today's report confirmed many of the features already discussed regarding the touchscreen-enabled speaker. Facebook plans to launch it with a screen size between 13 and 15 inches, a wide-angle lens, and microphones and speakers all powered by artificial intelligence. The screen rests on a thin, vertical stand and Facebook is now deciding whether the UI will run on a version of Android or if it will build its own OS, according to people familiar with the plans.

A few possible Siri commands on HomePod

Although the touchscreen speaker is only in the prototype stage, Facebook has begun testing it in employee homes.
Featuring a laptop-sized touchscreen, the device represents a new product category and could be announced as soon as next spring’s F8 developer conference, according to people familiar with the matter. They say the large screen and smart camera technology could help farflung people feel like they’re in the same room, which aligns with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s mission of bringing Facebook users closer together. The device is in the prototype phase but is already being tested in people’s homes.
The advanced smart speaker will be aimed at video calling and connecting friends and family members across long distances, with Facebook testing a way for its camera to automatically scan a user in its range, lock onto them, and track their movements to keep them in shot during a video call. A 360-degree camera was a possibility at one point during the touchscreen device's development, but now it's "unlikely" to be ready in time for Facebook's rumored launch of early 2018, likely ahead of or around the company's annual F8 conference in the spring.

In addition, Facebook is working on "at least one other product," representing a more basic and "standalone" smart speaker that would be aimed at competing with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. It's rumored that the standalone speaker would be priced "in the low $100 range," coming in under the flagship Echo ($180) and Google Home ($130). On the higher end, the touchscreen speaker made by Facebook would be priced at "a few hundred dollars."

In order to get a helpful AI assistant on both devices, Facebook is looking at hiring some "Apple Inc. veterans" to work at Building 8 and help create the social network company's own version of assistants like Siri and Alexa. The exact Apple veterans that Facebook is hiring were not specified in the report.
The social media giant is working on at least one other product -- a standalone smart speaker that would compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home, said the people, who asked not be named discussing unannounced products. Facebook is hiring Apple Inc. veterans to help it create a Siri-style voice assistant that would run on both devices, they said.
Last week's supply chain sources claimed that Facebook's smart speaker would be mostly controlled through the touchscreen and lack voice controls, but now Bloomberg's sources suggest the company is in fact working to include such voice-activated features. People close to the plans also mentioned that Facebook is prepared to abandon the cheaper, more basic speaker and pivot to prioritizing the touchscreen-enabled speaker instead, due to potentially intense competition in the standalone smart speaker market.

Apple will finally enter the same space later this year with the HomePod, which the company is billing as primarily a high-quality music playback device that also has helpful smart features that can be controlled by Siri. HomePod will sell for $350 when it launches this December.

Tags: Siri, Facebook

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Apple Teams Up With Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for Siri Movie

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson today announced that he's teamed up with Apple for a movie that co-stars Apple's AI-based personal assistant, Siri.

According to the poster tweeted by Johnson, the movie is called "The ROCKxSIRI Dominate the Day." There are no details on how long the film is or what it's about, but it apparently debuts tomorrow on Apple's YouTube channel.


Based on the image, it appears to feature car chases, space travel, an alien fight, and a concert performance. In a Facebook post, Johnson calls it the "biggest, coolest, craziest, dopest, most over the top, funnest" movie ever.
I partnered with #Apple to make the BIGGEST, COOLEST, CRAZIEST, DOPEST, MOST OVER THE TOP, FUNNEST (is that even a word?) movie ever.

And I have the greatest co-star of all time - #SIRI.

I make movies for the world to enjoy and we also made this one to motivate you to get out there and get the job done.

I want you to watch it, have fun with it and then go LIVE IT.
The film will premiere on Apple's YouTube channel on Monday, July 24, but it's not yet clear what time it will debut.

This is the second time Apple has teamed up with a partner to release a short film. Last month, Apple highlighted "Détour," a film French director Michel Gondry shot on the iPhone in partnership with Apple and in a decidedly more Apple style.

The project with Dwayne Johnson is unusual, but it comes at a time when Apple is preparing to release the Siri-based HomePod, so that may be why the company has decided to promote its personal assistant in a fun and unique way.

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