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iphone foreign language appWorld travel Use Skyscanner To Get The Best Deals On Flights [iOS] Use Skyscanner To Get The Best Deals On Flights [iOS] Skyscanner is an iOS application designed to help you maximize your savings so you can have as much money as possible to spend while on your vacation. If you only have a certain amount of... Read More is an exciting and adventurous activity, but one thing that hinders many from taking part is the language barrier. Everyone has their reasons for not learning another language, and furthermore, it’s just not practical to try to learn the language of the country that they are traveling to. Even linguists that speak both French and English probably aren’t going to spend time learning Italian, right?

Fortunately, there are several iPhone foreign language apps that will help you translate simple phrases while you are exploring the globe. All of them are useful, but bear in mind that they are designed to help you communicate, not to help you learn the language.

Here are five apps that will help you on your journeys.

Google Translate (Free)

Full Offline Usage: No
Translates Simple Phrases: Yes
Audio Translation: Yes
Voice Activation: Yes
Number of Languages: 64

Google Translate is great for those of you who need simple phrases while you are traveling out and about. Simple selections like “Where’s the bathroom?”“Where can I get a cheap meal?”, and “Where’s the best place to hide a body without the authorities finding out?” are probably all you would want to say.

While the app does not allow for full offline usage, it does let you to save translations so you can use them later. Furthermore, the app will show translations on the screen.

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iphone foreign language app

Jibbigo ($4.99)

Full Offline Usage: Yes
Translates Simple Phrases: Yes
Audio Translation: Yes
Voice Activation: Yes
Number of Languages: 20+

Jibbigo is a translation app that was fully designed for travelers. While it does not offer as many languages as Google Translate, it works completely offline. This way you don’t have to worry about not having Internet access or paying for roaming charges while you are in the middle of a foreign land.

Jibbigo allows users to speak their chosen phrase into the app, and it will automatically translate it using audio and on-screen text. The app is also “bi-directional”, so you can theoretically have full conversations with anyone you run across.
foreign language apps

Phrasebook (Free, $2.99 per extra language)

Full Offline Usage: No
Translates Simple Phrases: Yes
Audio Translation: Yes
Voice Activation: No
Number of Languages: 30+

Maybe you aren’t so interested in typing out phrases in one language and having them translated into another. Fortunately for you, there’s Phrasebook. The app stores a series of illustrated, audio, and text translations to help you get through your travels wherever you are.

With over 2,200 phrases per language to choose from, Phrasebook is like your personal translator! While the app itself is free, Japanese and English are the only languages that come with it. $2.99 isn’t too much of an investment when you are overseas for any additional languages you may require.

Here’s our directory review of Phrasebook for iOS.
foreign language apps

Universal Translator ($2.99)

Full Offline Usage: No
Translates Simple Phrases: Yes
Audio Translation: Yes
Voice Activation: Yes
Number of Languages: 39

Universal Translator is a bit of an odd bird when it comes to the world of on-the-go translation. It’s weird simply because it’s designed around chatting, and in fact, it uses Google Talk. By signing in with your Google Account, Universal Translator will allow you to chat with someone and have a fluid conversation as it automatically translates both incoming and outgoing messages. Is it practical? Well, if you’re in a sit-down situation, it might be, but it’s probably not a good idea if you are roaming about.
foreign language apps

SayHi Translate ($0.99)

Full Offline Usage: No
Translates Simple Phrases: Yes
Audio Translation: Yes
Voice Activation: Yes
Number of Languages: 39

SayHi Translate is fun little app that is functionally identical to almost all of the other apps that we’ve suggested. It uses vocal translation, and while its translation voice is a bit robotic, most users report that the translations are typically accurate. However, what really draws users in to SayHi Translate is its beautiful user interface. It’s exciting, bright, and quite pleasing to look at!
iphone foreign language app

Conclusion

All of these iPhone foreign language app are great for faking your way through the native tongue while abroad. However, as far as offline translators go, I would definitely recommend Jibbigo. Google Translate comes at a close second since it’s free, but there’s the whole issue of needing a connection.

Also, make sure you aren’t getting sucked into roaming fees with the ones that require an Internet connection (use Wi-Fi wherever you can), and do your best to stay safe while in the middle of strange lands. Remember that not everyone can be Indiana Jones.

What other translation apps do you like to use? Are the apps here suitable for travelling? Have you used any of these apps before?

Image Credit: jbachman01

  1. Chris Hoffman
    May 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Note for Android users: Google Translate for Android now has full offline support -- you can download per-language dictionaries in the app.

    Hopefully this will come to the iOS version at some point for you iPhone users out there.

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