Google Translate vs Siri: Which is the best?

04/11/2019 | Rebecca Twose

Thanks to advancements in machine learning, in recent years Artificial Intelligence (AI) has infiltrated numerous aspects of our lives. A huge development is the use of AI in translation. Tools like Google Translate can produce translations within a few seconds which is great for when you’re travelling abroad and need to communicate in a foreign language. In 2017, Apple released the iOS 11 update for their devices which included a translation feature where Apple’s digital assistant ‘Siri’ could translate between a few major languages such as English into Spanish, German, Italian, French and Chinese. This feature has now been available for over two years, but how does today’s version of Siri Translate compare with Google Translate?

Siri
Siri can only translate a limited number of languages for now.

Range of languages

Over the past two years, Apple has been working towards expanding the range of languages that Siri can translate. With their latest update iOS 13, Siri can now translate Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese and Arabic. Previously, Siri could not do reverse translations for these languages however Siri can now translate from all of these languages into English as well translating other language combinations such as German into French, Russian into Italian and Chinese into Spanish.

Google
Google Translate can translate over 100 languages.

Although Siri’s range of languages is increasing over time, it looks like it will be a while before Apple will be able to offer the number of languages that Google Translate does. Google Translate can translate over 100 languages each with a huge variety of language combinations.

Google Translate app

Usability

When it comes to looking at the usability of both Google translate and Siri Translate, Google offers users a variety of different ways that they can translate their content. Google Translate users can either speak or type their content into the app and then a translation is given, however Siri only translates spoken content at the moment which could be problematic for users who want to translate larger volumes of content or if they are in a situation where they cannot speak out loud. Google Translate also has the Word Lens feature where users can hold their camera up to a sign and it will translate the content almost instantly, a feature which seems like a long way away for Siri. That being said, Siri can be accessed within a click of button on most Apple devices, making it a lot quicker to use than Google translate where users would have to have the app installed.

Ratings

Accuracy

According to an article by Digital Trends, Google and Siri’s language skills have been put to the test and the results are surprising. Google scored an average of 4.72 out of 6 in French, while Siri scored 4.24. For Spanish, Google scored 5.15 whilst Siri scored 4.64. Google Translate ranked the highest for German with a score of 4.74 with Siri scoring 4.11. The results for Chinese were lower for both tools as Google Translate only averaged 3.97 and Siri scored 3.85. From these results, we can see that Google has scored higher than Siri in 4 major languages.

The verdict

It is clear that Apple is definitely working towards improving Siri’s translation abilities with several more languages being added over the past two years, however, the range of languages is still limited compared to the variety that Google offers. For now, it is hard to justify using Siri over Google Translate except for the quick accessibility users can have to Siri via the iPhone. Will Siri Translate be able to compete with Google Translate in the future? Possibly! But for now, it seems like Google may have won the battle for the best online translation tool…

If you liked this blog then stay tuned as we will be comparing Google Translate against other machine translation tools in the future!