How to view translations of foreign websites on your iPhone or iPad

You can now more easily see foreign language sites in your own native language via mobile Safari.

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Image: iStock/Delpixart

As you surf the web for business, especially if you deal with global customers or users, you're likely to run into important websites displayed in a language other than your own. Translating them within a desktop browser such as Chrome or Firefox isn't too difficult. But trying to manually translate those sites on an iPhone or iPad can be a challenge. Now Apple has a solution.

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New with iOS/iPadOS 14 is a built-in translator for Safari. So far, the feature supports English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese. If you bump into a site in one of these languages, Safari will offer to translate it into your native language. You can then bounce back and forth between the original and the translation. Let's see how this works.

First, make sure you're running iOS/iPadOS 14 or higher on your device. Go to Settings and then General. Tap the entry for Software Updates. You'll be told that your software is up to date or prompted to download and install the latest update.

Now open Safari. The next time you encounter a website in a foreign language, tap the Translate icon at the beginning of the address bar. But you have to be quick about it as the icon disappears after a couple of seconds. If you miss it, though, you have a couple of options. Refresh the page, and the icon will again appear for a couple of seconds. Alternatively, tap the aA icon at the beginning of the address bar and select the option to Translate to English (or your native language) (Figure A).

Figure A

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A message pops up with three choices: Enable Translation; Learn More; and Not Now (Figure B).

Figure B

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If you don't want the site translated, choose Not Now. If you want to find out more about the translation feature, tap Learn More. A Webpage Translation screen explains how the feature works (Figure C).

Figure C

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Otherwise, select Enable Translation either at the initial message or at the bottom of the Webpage Translation screen. Swipe down the screen to see the site translated into your native language (Figure D).

Figure D

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As you navigate each menu, page, and link on the website, a translation appears (Figure E).

Figure E

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To return to the site's actual language, tap the aA icon and select the option to View Original (Figure F).

Figure F

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