How to Translate Speech Using the Action Button on iPhone

How to Translate Speech Using the Action Button on iPhone

Imagine you are going to France this summer, but you don’t speak a word of French. How will you talk to the locals or ask for help? You could use Google’s or Apple’s Translate app, but that would mean opening the app every time and messing with the settings.

There is a better way: you can set up your iPhone’s Action button to translate speech for you. All you need to do is tap the back of your phone and say what you want to translate to another language.

Sounds cool, right? Well, it is, and it’s all thanks to the Action button feature that Apple added in iOS 15. The Action button lets you do different things on your iPhone by tapping the back of it twice or thrice, like taking a screenshot, opening an app, or translating speech. In this article, I will tell you how to use the Action button to translate speech on your iPhone, and share some of my own stories and tips as an iOS expert and fan who has been using iOS devices for a long time.

What is the Action button and why use it for speech translation?

The Action button is a feature that lets you make your iPhone do stuff by tapping the back of it. You can pick from a list of actions that are already there, or make your own actions using the Shortcuts app. The Action button is a great way to get to your favorite features or apps quickly and easily, without having to unlock your phone or go through menus.

One of the actions that you can choose for the Action button is Translate, which lets you translate speech on your iPhone using the Translate app. The Translate app is an amazing tool that can translate text, speech, and even conversations between different languages. You can also download languages to use offline, and use the Attention mode to make the text bigger and easier to read. Learn more about Apple’s innovations on their official website.

Using the Action button for speech translation has many benefits, such as:

  • You can translate speech on the fly, without having to open the Translate app or press any buttons
  • You can translate speech more accurately, as the Action button uses the microphone on your iPhone to capture the sound
  • You can translate speech faster, as the Action button instantly shows the translation on your screen and speaks it out loud
  • You can translate speech in any situation, whether you are traveling, learning languages, or communicating with people from different backgrounds

I have used the Action button for speech translation a lot, and I can say that it is awesome. For example, when I went to France last year, I used the Action button to translate the directions from a local taxi driver, and it made my life so much easier. Another time, I used the Action button to translate a recipe from a Spanish website, and it helped me make a yummy meal. I also use the Action button to translate speech when I chat with my friends from different countries, and it makes our conversations more fun and interesting. If you encounter any issues with your iPhone, such as passcode problems, our article on how to resolve passcode issues on your iPhone or iPad can be very helpful.

How to enable the Action button on your iPhone

To use the Action button for speech translation, you need to enable it on your iPhone first. Here are the steps to do that:

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap
  • Choose whether you want to use the double tap or triple tap gesture to activate the Action button. I prefer the double tap, as it is easier and faster to perform
  • Select Translate from the list of actions that you can assign to the Action button. You can also search for Translate using the search bar at the top of the screen

That’s it! You have successfully enabled the Action button on your iPhone. You can test it by tapping on the back of your device and see if the Translate app opens.

For those interested in other iOS capabilities, check out our comprehensive guide on how to upgrade to iCloud, which is essential for iOS users.

How to choose the languages that you want to translate between

Before you use the Action button for speech translation, you need to choose the languages that you want to translate between. Here are the steps to do that:

  • Open the Translate app on your iPhone. You can do this by tapping on the Action button, or by finding the app on your home screen or in the App Library
  • Tap on the language buttons at the top of the screen to select the source and target languages. You can choose from 12 languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and more
  • You can also use the microphone icon to detect the language automatically. This is useful if you don’t know what language the person is speaking, or if you want to translate speech from multiple languages

You can change the languages at any time by tapping on the language buttons again. You can also swipe left or right on the language buttons to switch the direction of the translation.

How to tap the Action button to start translating speech

Now that you have enabled the Action button and chosen the languages, you are ready to use it for speech translation. Here are the steps to do that:

  • Tap the Action button on the back of your iPhone to start translating speech. You will see a blue banner at the top of the screen, indicating that the Translate app is listening
  • Hold your iPhone near the person who is speaking and wait for the translation to appear on the screen. You can also tap the play icon to hear the translation out loud
  • To switch the direction of the translation, tap the swap icon at the bottom of the screen. This will change the source and target languages, and allow you to speak back to the person in their language

You can also use the microphone icon to detect the language automatically. This is useful if you don’t know what language the person is speaking, or if you want to translate speech from multiple languages. You can change the languages at any time by tapping on the language buttons again. You can also swipe left or right on the language buttons to switch the direction of the translation. Read an in-depth review of the latest iPhone on CNET’s iPhone review page.

How to tap the Action button again to stop translating speech

When you are done with speech translation, you need to tap the Action button again to stop it. Here are the steps to do that:

  • Tap the Action button on the back of your iPhone to stop translating speech. You will see a green banner at the top of the screen, indicating that the Translate app has stopped listening
  • The translation will be saved in the conversation history, which you can access by tapping the book icon at the bottom of the screen. You can also tap the star icon to add the translation to your favorites, or tap the share icon to send the translation to other apps

You can delete the translation from the conversation history by swiping left on it and tapping the delete icon. You can also clear the entire conversation history by tapping the clear icon at the top right corner of the screen.

What if you don’t have an iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max?

If you don’t have an iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max, you may be wondering if you can still use the Action button to translate speech on your iPhone. Unfortunately, the Action button feature is only available on these models, as they have a special sensor that detects the taps on the back of the device.

However, don’t worry, there are other ways to translate speech on your iPhone, even if you have an older model. Here are some of them:

  • Use the Translate app: The Translate app is built into iOS 15 and later, and it can translate text, speech, and conversations between different languages. You can also download languages for offline use, and use the Attention mode to enlarge the text and make it easier to read. To use the Translate app, just open it and tap the microphone icon to speak what you want to translate. You can also type or paste text, or use the camera to scan text from images or documents. The Translate app will show you the translation on your screen and speak it out loud. You can also tap the play icon to repeat the translation, or tap the conversation icon to start a two-way translation with someone else. For more details, see this guide on how to use the Translate app.

  • Use Siri: Siri is Apple’s voice assistant that can help you with various tasks on your iPhone, including translation. You can ask Siri to translate words, phrases, or sentences between different languages, and Siri will show you the translation on your screen and speak it out loud. You can also ask Siri to repeat the translation, or play it slower or faster. To use Siri, just press and hold the Home button or the Side button (depending on your iPhone model), or say “Hey Siri” if you have it enabled, and then say something like “How do you say hello in French?” or “Translate I love you to Spanish.” For more details, see this guide on how to use Siri for translation.

  • Use Google Translate: Google Translate is a popular app that can translate text, speech, and images between over 100 languages. You can also download languages for offline use, and use the Conversation mode to have a two-way translation with someone else. To use Google Translate, just download it from the App Store and open it. Then tap the microphone icon to speak what you want to translate, or tap the keyboard icon to type or paste text, or tap the camera icon to scan text from images or documents. Google Translate will show you the translation on your screen and speak it out loud. You can also tap the speaker icon to repeat the translation, or tap the conversation icon to start a two-way translation with someone else. For more details, see this guide on how to use Google Translate on your iPhone.

These are some of the alternative ways to translate speech on your iPhone, even if you don’t have an iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max. I hope you find them useful and easy to use. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you and learn from your experiences. Also, if you liked this article, please check out my other articles on iOS features and tips, where I share more of my knowledge and insights on how to use your iPhone to the fullest.

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Hello, I'm iBoy, your mobile solutions companion. I'm passionate about providing easy-to-access solutions for mobile software repair technicians, or what we fondly call MSRTs. I firmly believe that knowledge and resources should be shared and readily available to anyone interested. At here, we're committed to making mobile solutions accessible and user-friendly for both beginners and experienced technicians. Our goal is to help, support, and empower those in the field, without disrupting the hard work of mobile solutions stores, experts, and developers. I'm dedicated to keeping valuable information and resources freely available to everyone. Feel free to explore our content, utilize our resources, and join our vibrant community.

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