Apple Translate vs Google Translate: Which Translation App Is Better

Google Translate has been my go-to recommendation for everyone looking for a solid multi-language translator on the go. It’s free, easy to use, available on all platforms, and supports hundreds of languages. Meanwhile, Apple is launching a new Translate app with the iOS 14 update, and giving iPhone users a new option over Google Translate. While testing the iOS 14 public beta, we often wondered if Apple Translate could beat Google Translate.

Apple translate vs google translate

Google is betting on years of expertise to deliver accurate and quick translation. Apple is taking a different route with close integration with Siri’s assistant and on-device translation. That is a huge privacy boost and would make many users wonder if they should stick with the Apple Translate app or download the Google Translate app from the App Store. While we understand that Apple Translate is still at a nascent stage and shall only present our observations based on our experience with iOS 14 so far.

We shall discuss the differences between the Google Translate and Apple Translate app. The comparison will be based on cross-platform availability, user interface, features, languages support, multiple detection modes, and more. Let’s get started.

Cross-Platform Availability

You may wonder why a cross-platform availability matter in a translate app. A cross-platform translator software allows you to enjoy an identical experience among the supported platforms. Besides, you can save your favorite translated phrases and access them on other platforms as well.

Google Translate is available on iOS, Android, and Web. Google Chrome browser also uses Google Translate to translate webpages on the go. Apple’s Translate app is only available for iOS and iPadOS for now. With the watchOS 7 updates, Siri on Apple Watch can use the Translate app to translate phrases and words.

User Interface

Google follows the standard Material Theme 2.0 guidelines among all its apps. Google Translate has a standard minimalist design with a clean white background and bottom menu bar for easy navigation.

Google translate UI
Google translate ui 2

The major options, such as language detection, voice input, camera, and handwriting, are at the top. I wish Google would take advantage of the blank space and offer better writing and viewing experience.

Apple offers a standard white UI with the bottom menu bar. I like how Apple offers relatively big fonts for type and translate. The Google Translate and Apple Translate support system-wide iOS dark theme.

Apple translate ui
Apple translate ui 2

Language Support

Google Translate has been around for a long time. It supports 109 languages, but there is a catch. Only 43 out of 109 languages in Translate support bilingual text translation while image translation is limited to 37, and the number is 32 for voice in conversation mode. You will have to choose a translation app based on the language you want to translate and how you want to translate it.

Things will depend on the language you want to translate and how you want to translate it. Text, audio, image, or real-time conversations? That’s what matters, and you can’t depend on the three-digit number here.

Language supprot

Speaking of numbers, Apple Translate supports only 11 languages at the launch time. The service can translate to and from Arabic, mainland Chinese, English (US and UK), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Language Detection Modes

Not everyone will be comfortable with typing out words and phrases to translate the language. Sometimes, you might stumble upon a signboard with an unknown language and might want to use the camera to translate the language. Let’s explore the modes themselves and see where Google Translate and Apple Translator stand.

Google Translate

Type: The default mode. Enter text using keyboard to translate it to another language.

Voice: Bilingual voice to voice conversations using audio.

Camera: Take a picture using a camera with text in a foreign language to translate it.

Conversation: This is my favorite. You can have a conversation with your friend in real-time using the conversation mode.

Google handwriting
Google conversation

Write: Handwriting support.

In short, Google has got you covered with multiple modes to translate languages on the go.

Apple Translate

Type: The default mode. Enter text using keyboard to translate it to another language.

Voice: Automatic language detection and bilingual voice to voice conversations using audio.

Apple translate
Apple talk

That’s it. Apple misses out on key fronts here. It can be a deal-breaker for many users out there. Google comfortably wins this round.


Both Google Translate and Apple Translate show the definition of words if you come across something you don’t understand. You can save your favorite translations for later usage in phrasebooks in both translation apps.

I like how Google offers a dedicated Share and Copy button. On Apple Translate, you will have to long-tap on the word and then use the Share button. Not so convenient.

Google share
Google offline

Thankfully, Google Translate and Apple Translate support offline translation. You need to download languages first, and then you can use it without a mobile network. This one can be handy during low or no connectivity areas.

Apple Translate offers a clean landscape mode. I like it. That makes it easy to view and translate languages. As mentioned above, Apple’s Translate app enjoys a close integration with iOS software. You can simply trigger and ask Siri to translate a phrase in a supported language.

Apple siri
Apple dictionary

Translate Languages on the Go

At first glance, Google Translate seems like a clear winner in the comparison. The service is available everywhere and offers more detection modes to add and translate languages. Apple Translate offers better privacy as all the process occur on the device and doesn’t get the store on any servers. The Siri integration and Apple Watch support is also a nice touch. Which one are you planning to use? Sound off in the comments section below.

Next up: Microsoft also offers a translate app. Read the post below to find a comparison between Google Translate and Microsoft Translate app on Android.

Last updated on 02 February, 2022

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