Most people can’t imagine traveling without a smartphone. We use our smartphones as a GPS, camera, and way to contact our friends. In foreign countries, you can whip out your smartphone to translate signs, local people, and even yourself.
With just a simple app, your phone can become your own personal translator. These translation apps for Android and iOS will have you covered on your next adventure.
1. Google Translate
Google Translate is one of the best-known translators due to its versatility and simplicity. And you can access even more features in Google Translate’s mobile app. The service supports over 100 languages for translations of typed or handwritten text.
When you have to communicate with someone who speaks another language, forget awkward hand gestures and pointing—the Google Translate app does the work for you. As you talk into the app, it repeats what you say in the language of your choice. When your conversation partner responds, the app translates it back to you.
Google Translate also comes in handy at foreign restaurants. Snap a picture of the menu, and it will provide a translation. Currently, Google Translate supports 38 languages for camera translation and 32 languages for conversation mode.
Don’t forget about offline mode in case you’re in an area without internet. You still can translate 59 languages when you’re away from Wi-Fi.
2. Microsoft Translator
Microsoft Translator is another big name in translation apps and offers an even simpler interface than Google Translate. Four big bubbles float on the home screen of the app. Their functions are pretty self-explanatory: voice translation, conversation translation, photo translation, and text translation.
What makes Microsoft Translator so innovative is its ability to translate your message for a large number of listeners, making it perfect for a presentation.
Here’s a quick rundown of how to give a speech through Microsoft Translator: After you start up conversation mode, you’ll receive a code. Give this code to your listeners, and they can join your conversation. As you talk or type into the app, your listeners will see a translation of your speech in their own language.
Although Microsoft Translator supports fewer languages than Google Translate, it’s still just as powerful.
3. Reverso Translation Dictionary
Reverso is definitely limited when it comes to supported languages (it only works with 11), but it provides more detailed translation information than other apps.
Choose a language and type a word into the search bar. On the results page, the app presents alternatives to that word in whichever language you choose. It provides several definitions that show how to use the word in different contexts as well.
Reverso is also a really great language learning app, as it helps you memorize and translate words. Select the Learn option from the side navigation menu to put your language skills to the test. After you study the interactive flashcards, see how well you fare in a quiz.
4. Naver Papago Translator
When you open Papago, you’ll notice an area to type the text you want to translate, along with three colorful bars that represent your translation options. It supports 13 languages that you can translate via text, voice, and photo.
Select Papago Mini, and you can access the translator while you surf the web. A tiny box along with a parrot icon will appear in the corner of your browser. Simply copy a chunk of text from a website, and you’ll receive a complete translation.
In addition to all these features, Papago also stores your frequently used phrases, gives you access to a dictionary, and translates entire websites.
5. SayHi Translate
SayHi is made specifically for translating speech and text, which means it’s a bit limited in other features. However, it does support a variety of languages and a large number of Spanish dialects.
This app makes it easy to have a conversation in another language. Tap the microphone icon to speak into your phone, or hold the icon to open the keyboard. Your speech or text gets translated instantly and appears on the screen as two bubbles—the speaker’s words are on top, while the translation is on the bottom.
If you want to move your conversation elsewhere, copy it or choose to share it to Twitter, Facebook, or SMS.
6. Dictionary Linguee
You probably used Dictionary Linguee in your high school language class (I know I did). It’s a reliable translation tool that puts foreign words into context. The app supports several languages and allows you to conduct bidirectional searches. This means that you can search for translations in both English to Chinese or Chinese to English (for example).
As soon as you type a word into the search bar, Dictionary Linguee presents you with a definition. This comes from its editorial dictionary assembled by a team of lexicographers, so you know you can trust it.
You’ll find the results from the translation search engine below the editorial definition. These examples show you how the word is used in online translations.
It’s not fun to watch a movie entirely in English when you’re still learning the language. TheaterEars is for native Spanish speakers who want to want to experience the thrill of watching a movie in theaters. However, it can also help those who are trying to brush up on their Spanish skills. Your friends might think that streaming audio during a movie is an unusual way to learn a language, but it’s actually quite beneficial.
The app finds movies playing in theaters near your location. Simply select your movie time and hit Get Track. The movie’s audio track will download, and you can gain access to it one hour before showtime.
Make sure to download TheaterEars when you’re ready to see your next flick. Kick back, pop some headphones in, and enjoy the movie in your own language (or a foreign one).
It’s common to feel like an outcast in foreign countries when you don’t know the slang. TripLingo solves this issue by providing translations in different formality levels: formal, casual, slang, and crazy. Choose from a series of preset phrases, and learn the different ways you can say each one.
TripLingo offers valuable resources about cultures and functions as an all-in-one travel tool. Learn about greeting customs, dining etiquette, local food guides, and more.
One of the most important skills to learn if you want to travel more is how to exercise caution in dangerous situations. Luckily, TripLingo has your back. It describes any travel warnings and safety hazards in the country you’re visiting.
In terms of translation, TripLingo does more than let you in on the local slang; it provides voice and photo translation as well. TripLingo can even help you learn a language with its incorporation of quizzes and a phrasebook. Is there anything this app can’t do?
Never Feel Lost in Translation Again
Translations apps are your lifeline when you’re struggling to communicate in a foreign country. The next time you’re at a loss for words, don’t forget that you have a translator right in your pocket.
Translators are just one of the handy apps you should download for international trips. Learn about more in this magnifico list.