Tips for reading any Spanish text on a phone with ease and delight

When reading my first book in Spanish for three weeks — the first part of Harry Potter — I adopted a habit. With Read HP 10 min now removed from daily reminders, I needed something new to keep the habit.

I could get the second part — Harry Potter y la cámara secreta — but I will keep that for Christmas holidays. Another option — joining library in Dénia or Jávea — will have to wait until I find more time and courage. So, to not lose my reading streak, I had to turn to digital.

A few recent articles in El Pais newspaper caught my interest. They were behind a paywall and I always resisted. Now that I needed something interesting to read I got a subscription. It costed 1 € for the first month, then 11 € if I decide to continue.

I set out to read the first article thinking it would be harder than a wizards book. It was, but I soon discovered a few little things that made this my new favorite way of learning.

The tips

Translate any word or piece of text

This functionality uses Apple’s Translate app, without having to leave a browser.

  1. select any text,
  2. select Traducir (🇪🇸) or Translate (🇬🇧). The wording depends on the language of your device.

The option to “favorite” the translation delighted me. I can stay in the article instead of going to a spreadsheet or another app. Here’s a quick recording of this feature.

Get an explanation for any term

The “Look up” method can display definitions from various Spanish and English dictionaries. Sometimes it has more detail from Wikipedia, movie databases, and other sources.

  1. select any word or phrase,
  2. select Consultar (🇪🇸) / Look up (🇬🇧). The wording depends on the language of your device.

This is slower than a translation, but having to read a definition adds to the learning.

I like to combine both ways.

  • Translate:
    • when it’s a phrase or more words, I use a translation.
    • when I want to read the article faster.
  • Look-up:
    • when I’m willing to put in more time and effort.

These tips work also outside of Safari — in Books, PDF files, and other browsers. And I’m sure there’s something similar on Android and Windows devices as well.

Beautiful reading experience

Reading a printed book or magazine has its charm. Paper has no notifications, no blue light and nowhere to scroll to. Screens do have it all. But if used well, they can make reading and learning language a beautiful experience.

Here are 3 more tips:

  • Turn on “Focus” mode
  • Switch your device to dark mode
  • View webpage in “Reader mode”

Let me know if this was helpful.

Happy learning!

Like what you just read? Get new posts to your inbox.