How natural does translate sound?

Translate is a new app in iPadOS 15 that supports 12 languages (Arabic, English [UK & US], French, German, Italy, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish). During our test, we were unable to translate to Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. Translate, so far, is the buggiest app we’ve encountered in this public beta. It failed to translate these languages, no matter what we tried. We closed the app several times, rebooted the iPad and even turned it on and off. Nothing worked. 


We started by listening to the English (UK) readout, then the US one. Both sound unnatural, especially the UK English version. It’ll be interesting to know if non-native speakers can pick this up as well. We assume that native speakers will have an easier time picking up the computerised voice than non-native speakers.


The next language we tried was Arabic. We went through the languages in alphabetic order. We picked up a few unnatural, computerised words for this one. But overall, for a non-native Arabic speaker, Translate sounds great.


French sounds more natural than Arabic. I picked out a few issues, but it doesn’t sound bad at all. Uncle Dan says it does not sound natural, and he can’t even speak a single word of French! This turned out to be a very interesting test. Perhaps, even non-native speakers can tell when the voice is not human.



We all voted that German sounds natural. It doesn’t have that computerised voice thing going on, even when we played it several times.


Korean was the next language on our list. We’d like to believe that Song-yi and Do Min-joon taught us a few useful words. It sounds quite natural to our non-native ears. We’ve watched enough Korean dramas to tell if a computer was speaking, lol!


For Mandarin, the English words sound unnatural (it’s very easy to pick up on that). The rest of it, i.e. all the Mandarin parts we don’t understand, sounds quite natural to non-native speakers. But we have a native speaker on our team, so we asked for her input. According to Yannie, ‘It’s actually not bad! But of course, you can tell it’s not a human speaking.’ She also says some of the words were not translated accurately. 

Yannie and her husband are part of our Paperless X team and they are the only ones brave enough to start vlogging. Make sure you check out their channel if you like lifestyle vlogs. They are still trying to convince the rest of the team to join their adventures. I am still thinking about it. 


Russian sounds good, but my Russian is not that great. I’ve been listening to Russian for years now, I would like to believe I can tell a computerised voice when I heard it. Of all the languages on this list, Russian sounds the most natural. Our team agreed on that, which does happen often. We must be right, right?

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