Among the many innovations in iOS 14 is a translation app that currently supports eleven different languages (German, English, French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian and Korean). Similar to other online translators, it can also be used to translate larger text blocks.
In contrast to many online translators, the Translate app can also process spoken texts in addition to typing: If the user turns the iPhone into landscape format, he gets a view in which the application automatically recognizes the spoken language and translates the spoken language into the desired target language. In this way, conversations can be held without the speaker first selecting his language. It is almost a fluent conversation.
There are many ways to test the quality of translation software. In order not to have to go into too much detail here about what “good” or “bad” English is, an example sentence from Stiftung Warentest was used: “I was robbed. Can you call the police for me?”. Correctly translated into English: “I’ve been robbed. Can you call the police for me?”. As you can see on the screenshot, the Translate app from iOS has a slightly different opinion on what the result should be.
Select text, insert, one click and you have a translation. That sounds tempting – even if the result is sometimes less than optimal. However, online translators can violate a company’s data protection regulations and also because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has had to be implemented immediately since May 25, 2018, the use of online translation services is a sensitive issue. In addition, a translation can sometimes have nasty consequences if you simply do it 1: 1. In 2017, for example, the BBC found out that Google Translate translated “Russian Federation” as “Mordor” (center of evil in the Middle-earth region in “Lord of the Rings”). Therefore, you should always take a “look” at the result before an important conversation is filled with the results. For the sake of completeness, it should be said that the Translate app did not make these errors.
As far as data protection is concerned, Apple advertises that the translations can also be carried out offline. Even if the beta versions do not yet allow final settings, the first screenshots indicate the functionality. This not only benefits data protection: the feature is also practical when traveling, if there is not always access to the Internet. (mb / fm)