How to Use Translate with an Action Button in iOS 17

Apple added a translation option to the action button

Apple's iOS 17.2 adds new iPhone action button option 15 Pro with the ability to start translation. Here's how to do it and how to choose the language you want.

You may have already configured an action button to launch the Apple Translate app by writing a shortcut. However, all it does is literally launch the app, taking you to the home screen and leaving you there.

Now in iOS 17.2 and later, you can press and hold the action button for a moment, then say something in English and get an immediate translation.

What's more, you immediately get the translation text shown to you, but then you also hear it out loud.

Only in the Action button there is nothing that indicates which language you want to translate into. Plus, if you want to do it all right away a second time, it's not obvious what you'll have to do.

Set the translation language

Forget about the button for a moment actions. Instead, launch the Translator app on your iPhone. The screen that appears has two large empty text areas, the first of which has a titleEnglish (USA)and the second is another language.

You need to set your language preferences in the Translator app.

Typically, you type or dictate a sentence in the “English (US)” field, and then watch the translation is as follows. But instead of doing any of that here, click on the name of the other language in the bottom box.

Select the desired language from the list that appears. Then exit the Translator app and customize the action button.

How to customize action-button using Translator

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down and tap the Action Button
  3. Scroll through the growing carousel of actions, until you reach the “Transfer” item.
  4. Carefully exit the settings.

Unlike some other action button options, there are no specific settings. will allow you to customize the Translation. It would be nice if there was an option to change the language here, but it doesn't exist yet.

What's important here is the fact that it's surprisingly easy to set an action for an action button and then move on to another.

But as long as it remains on the Translator, you are done with the setup and can now use this feature using the action button.

Tap and hold the action button and everything you say will be translated.

How to use Translate with the action button

  1. Press and hold the action button in moment
  2. When the dynamic island changes to English, Listening, start speaking
  3. After a while, the translated text will appear.
  4. After a while time, the translated text will be spoken aloud.
  5. To listen to the audio again, click the Play button.

If you're ever unsure what language you're going to translate your English into, Dynamic Island will let you know right at the start. Next to English, Listening you will see the name of the other language and the word Listening again.

Once you start speaking, the entire text string with the word English and everything else you say will be removed from the banner.

When you finish speaking and the Translator app is ready, the dynamic island will rotate vertically to show you both what you said in English and its equivalent in another language.

Everything is done very quickly and smoothly, and while you are talking, there is simply magnificent animation happening on the Dynamic Island.

It's also great that Apple includes a Play button so you can listen to the audio translation again.

Just so you can do this, the Dynamic Island does not go away. It never disappears, there is no interval before it stops showing you the Play button and translated text.

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It would be better, and make a lot more sense, if this translation disappeared the next time you Press and hold the Action button. However, it is not.

So don't forget to close Dynamic Island by tapping on your iPhone's home screen.

This is a strangely awkward element in a very smooth process.

But overall, this version of the Translator app with the action button actually feels simpler and more intuitive than the Translator app itself.

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