Guides

5 of the best translations apps for travelling overseas

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It’s a big world out there, with a thousand sounds to take in and experience. According to the World Ethnologue, there are 7,000 languages currently spoken worldwide today. And while you might not encounter each and every one the next time you travel, it’s likely your $5 phrase book won’t cover every conversation.

Luckily, there are a number of language translation and dictionary apps available for smartphones now, offering everything from personal word banks to real-time conversation translation. Don’t settle for a blank stare being your way of picking up the local language – check out these five translations apps that can make your overseas trip simpler.

1. Google Translate

How does it work?

Simply, Google Translate can do it all.

  • 103 languages are translatable via text.
  • 52 languages available for offline translation.
  • 37 can be translated with a photo.
  • 32 languages are translatable using speech-to-speech recognition.

Unique features

  • Google Translate is the most popular translation app on Android.
  • The app is constantly updated with real-life data from its users, providing the most natural translations.
  • Google’s apps boast the Word Lens feature, the most advanced image to translation technology available. All you need to do is point your phone at a sign and the app is able to translate the image for you.

Drawbacks

Google Translate’s ability to translate between sounds, words and images offline isn’t applicable to its full range of languages.

Is it free?

Google Translate is free for download on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Availability?

The app is available on both iOS and Android.

2. iTranslate

How does it work?

It’s the best dictionary-based translation apps available, offering translations between over 90 different languages. It’s also one of the most widely used language apps worldwide.

Unique features

  • iTranslate is offered as an extension on the Apple Watch.
  • You’re able to save commonly used phrases in a personal list for easier access.
  • You can customise the translation voice by pronunciation, speed and tone.

Drawbacks

iTranslate’s free edition is supported by ads and has limited language capabilities. The premium edition is also the most expensive app available on this list.

Is it free?

The app is free on the Apple App Store and Google Play. The premium iVoice Translate costs $39.99 per year.

Availability?

iTranslate is supported on both iOS and Android.

3. Translator Speak and Translate Pro

How does it work?

The app focuses on real-time conversation translation between 100 languages. This is excellent for when you’re speaking to a taxi driver and need to provide directions quickly.

Unique features

  • Languages are automatically detected and translated without pressing any buttons.
  • Translator Speak is the best app for group conversations as it can pick up and translate multiple languages in a crowd of voices.
  • You can save your favourite phrases offline.

Drawbacks

Translator requires an internet connection, meaning you’d be tied to public Wi-Fi hotspots. Also, other competing translation apps are free.

Is it free?

The limited Translator Speak is free, while Translate Pro costs $3.99 as a once off purchase.

Availability?

Translator Speak and Translate Pro are available on the Apple App Store.

4. SayHi

How does it work?

SayHi is a universal translator offering speech-to-speech translation in 90 languages and regional dialects.

Unique features

  • SayHi combines language with dialect to deliver more accurate translation, with up to 95 per cent accuracy for voice recognition.
  • The voice is programmable to either male or female and at a customised speed.
  • The app offers a range of dialects for complicated languages such as Arabic.

Drawback

Certain languages are available for text-only. Also, SayHi requires an internet connection.

Is it free?

SayHi is free for download from the Apple App Store, Google Play and on Amazon.

Availability?

SayHi is available for access on iOS, Android and Kindle devices.

5. Microsoft Translator

How does it work?

The app is able to translate voice, typed words and real-time images, matching the abilities of Google Translate. It can also save offline language packs of personal phrases.

Unique features

  • Microsoft Translator is one of the only language apps that works on the Apple Watch.
  • The app boasts the most superior design for real-time conversation mode.
  • It’s the one of the most widely-supported translation app for mobile devices.

Drawbacks

Microsoft Translator only supports 61 languages. Also, the app lacks Google’s equivalent real-time video translation feature.

Is it free?

The app is freely accessible from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Availability?

Microsoft Translator is enabled for iOS, Android and, of course, Windows mobile devices.


Author

TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

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