The 6 Best Translation Apps for Travelers
Living in a hyperconnected, globalized world is amazing for travel lovers, but not speaking the local language can be a challenge. Luckily, there are great translation apps out there that take the guesswork out of the equation, ensuring your trip is an incredible one. As technology evolves and our smartphones do more of the heavy lifting, different apps that can handle translations via text, voice, or even our camera, your horizons will grow ever-broader.
The next time you're heading abroad, take note of this list of the best translation apps for travelers.
Top 6 Translation Apps
Google Translate is extremely simple to use, with an interface that appeals to travelers of all ages and tech levels. The app allows users to translate 108 languages in real-time by typing in a word or a phrase. It also offers offline access to 59 languages. Travelers can use handwriting (drawing text or characters rather than typing) in 95 languages. For camera translation in 90 languages, just point your smartphone camera and get an instant translation of anything from a restaurant menu to a street sign. Wait, there's more: two-way instant speech translation is available in 43 languages. You can download it for free on iTunes or Google Play.
One of the world's most popular translation apps, iTranslate has been rated over 350,000 times on the App Store and Google Play. iTranslate also offers a special version for Apple Watch. The basic app includes a phrasebook with predefined, useful phrases and translations in over 100 languages. There is a pro version available ($5.99/month or $49.99/year) that features language packs for download and offline use, website translation, camera translation, voice-to-voice conversations, and verb conjugations. Download the basic version for free on iTunes or Google Play.
TripLingo is ideal for in-the-know travelers looking to blend in with the locals and understand the culture. To start, select a country from the list of over 100, and then download your destination's pack. Through TripLingo you'll have access to a voice translator, an image translator, a selection of essential phrases in the local language, a WiFi dialer to make calls from abroad (add credits starting with $10), and even a section about customs, safety, and other tips to ensure you’ll blend in. All of this material can be downloaded and used offline. The pro version starts at $19.99/month and includes more phrases, WiFi calling credit, support from a live translator, and more. Download the basic version for free on iTunes or Google Play.
Translate text, voice, and photos from English to over 60 languages with Microsoft Translator. This app is ideal for business travelers, with a multi-person conversation translation feature where you connect your devices and speak with up to 100 people simultaneously in different languages. Wow! The split-screen function lets users see a phrase while someone sitting across from them can read the translation. Language packs are available for offline translation, too. With translation guides and pronunciation help, learn how to properly speak some of the phrases you’re translating. Download for free on iTunes or Google Play.
Translate your voice into 90 languages and dialects with SayHi. With the app, you record your voice, which gets translated into the selected language. Choose to have your voice represented by either a woman or a man, and adjust the speed to your preference. In a noisy environment? Type within the app instead of speaking into the microphone. The only downside? SayHi is only available when connected to the Internet through WiFi or at least a 3G data connection. Download for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Waygo only translates from English to and from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, but is a total lifesaver if you’re stuck without WiFi, as the app is available entirely offline. Waygo is best used with the instant camera: simply point at signs and menus and see your translation. Adventurous eaters will find Waygo particularly useful; go into the food picture mode after translating a menu item to better understand what you’re about to order. The basic version includes 10 free translations/day, and the upgraded version – which includes unlimited translations – costs $6.99 for one of the three languages, or $11.99 for all three. Download the basic free version on iTunes and Google Play.