Socrates admits his ignorance, implicitly attacking pretenders to knowledge — namely the sophists, who were paid teachers of rhetoric, and from whom the earliest philosophers struggled to distinguish themselves. Socrates never took payment for his teaching. More generally this is the sense in which Socrates claims the oracle named him as the “wisest”: by knowing his own ignorance, and not pretending to know what he cannot, he is capable of learning — of becoming wise. He is therefore the wisest of his countrymen... precisely by knowing the limits of his wisdom, and not claiming to be able to teach what cannot be taught.
Nevertheless Socrates has a number of positive ethical and methodological doctrines, about the nature of the gods and the good and being itself; but the idea is that these are derived from honest questioning with an interlocutor, and finding what “language itself” has to say if it is to make any sense; these doctrines emerge dialectically, as it were organically, rather than being disclosed as though they were always known by him to be true.
See the Cratylus 397a for more on this construction of Socrates' philosophical activity -- ie, that he is simply after what words themselves must say if they are to hang together intelligibly:
So where do you wish for us to start examining [words]? For what we have done is embark upon a certain general project [so] that we will be able to see whether the words themselves will bear witness to us that they are applied to particular things in a way that does not come altogether from chance, but has a certain correctness about it (397a; Sachs -- see note)
How does Socrates himself typify his own philosophical practice? At least in this instance, as a methodological skepticism which relies on the intelligibility of language itself to resolve problems. He makes intentional use of "living speech" to isolate ideas clearly in dialogue; or at least to help delineate where that's no longer possible. The Cratylus in particular is a dialogue which explicitly dramatizes this conflict between what human beings wish words would say... and what words themselves "wish" to say.
You can find the exact translation above in "Plato's Cratylus" (Ewegen 2013) with some analysis and the original Greek for certain phrases. Full ref would be
- Ewegen, S. M. (2013). Plato's Cratylus: The Comedy of Language. United States: Indiana University Press.