If you could have a superhero power, what would it be? The ability to fly; X-ray-vision; hyper-strength? For me, the answer is easy, even though it left my friends in disbelief when I posed this question as a kid: to speak every language in the world.
Today, when travelling to places where other languages are spoken, my childhood wish arises, but now I a) realize wow, I was a big nerd b) turn to a trusty translation app on my smartphone.
Knowing even a few phrases in the local tongue is extremely helpful. It could free you from paying jacked-up tourist prices, provide you with valuable insider tips from locals, or at the very least, let you leisurely walk, instead of desperately sprinting, to the nearest toilet. No time for language classes? All you really need is a translator app.
There are a lot to choose from, but if you’re looking for a language translator app to download, here are our top 10 picks, curated from a mission to find the best translation app out there!
Here are the ones to check out, before you check in to your next flight:
1. Google Translate
Available in both iPhone and Android platforms, Google Translate is an image, text and voice translator app. Enter a word or phrase for an instant translation, use your camera to take a photo to translate text and even have a text conversation in one of 103 languages available. You can create a personal phrasebook and you don’t even need a Wi-Fi to use the Google Translate, making it the perfect travel companion.
This one’s great for translating conversations. If you don’t mind having the mic on your phone turned on, simply record words or sentences and the app translates to the selected language. You can save and file them for later use. If trying to converse with someone in your foreign destination, you can pass the phone back and forth to facilitate understanding, thanks to this efficient voice translator app. If you do, be mindful of theft, of course.
Travelling to China, Japan or South Korea? Let WayGo be your linguistic guide. It’s tough to draw the orthographic character on the touchscreen, so the Waygo app lets you take a photo of the text to translate. You may also use images in your phone’s photo gallery. No data connection is needed to use this visual translator, which is a definite bonus. Free to download, it includes ten translations a month for free, after that you’ll be prompted for payment.
This no-frills translation app gets the job done. One menu gives you over 90 languages to choose from. This also meets our travel-friendly check-list as you don’t have to be online to access translations (even verb conjugations) however you do need Internet for the voice translator component, which brings me to the next app:
Sometimes misunderstandings can arise when one has a tenuous hold on the spoken language. Image credit: Tom Margie/Flickr/Insomnia Cured Here
Again, a super simple, clean interface like iTranslate, omitting the text function to allow the user to talk into the phone. This voice translator app decodes 42 languages and dialects, covering all the popular vacation spots you’re likely to travel to, and then some. Its latest update comes with a phrasebook for your most used, and saved, sayings.
Don't get Lost in Translation. Make it easy on yourself with a translator app. Image credit: GIPHY
Android users engaging in some short and sweet convos – that they don’t necessarily completely understand—will love this quick n’ dirty tool. Conversation goes both ways, switching text language to English and the recipient’s translation, as well as between search engines, Google and Bing, the latter being Twitter’s choice for Tweet translations.
Now confusing phrasebooks are a relic of the past. Even Inspector Clouseau could figure that out.
As the name suggests, this is a handy tool, allowing a tourist to quickly look up a word or phrase. Use this translation app to replace the pocket phrasebook of yore. A free download, available for iPhones.
Another excellent choice for travellers, with an offline function, many Windows phone and Android users consider this to be the best translation app. It supports 60+ languages and the features are lengthy, as well. Camera/visual translation of text, pronunciation guides and alternate expressions are among its cutting edge features. Using the latest technology, this free translation app is compatible with Office, Bing, Skype, IE and platforms like Twitter and EBay.
This free, well-reviewed language translation app lets you be virtually hands-free. The mic feature lets you verbally submit a word or phrase, making it ideal for those who are visually impaired. You can still use Translate Voice to send text messages, and it will correct misspellings, making it a great learning tool as well.
If you don't have time to sit in a classroom, or fumble through a phrasebook, the future is here. These awesome translation apps give you quick access to phrases, literally at your fingertips. Of course, mastering a language's nuances and idiomatic phrases takes years, but these easy-to-use and travel-friendly apps are a great way to enhance your stay wherever English isn't the local language.
I will still have to wait for the app that will turn me into a nerdy superhero who can speak all languages, but at least we all have the ability to fly (in a plane, that is) and to use the translation app of our choice.
Ready to start practicing a new language? You've taken the first step by being here! Book online, call us at 1 877 967 5302, or contact a travel expert at a shop near you.