Whether taking a vacation or only going on a business trip, it’s important to know some phrases in the local language of the country you visit. By doing this, you will enrich your experience and the locals will appreciate your efforts in trying to make yourself understood.
A little dictionary or a book with the most common phrases may be in handy to ask where the bathroom is, read a menu or ask for directions on the street but unfortunately, they can be bulky and can take much time to search through. Luckily, most app stores contain several translating applications that range from simple dictionaries to voice recognition software that can even talk in your place.
10 Best Translating Applications for Mobile devices
A mobile translator is an application for smart devices that can instantly translate words or phrases in a great number of different languages. The simplicity and the ease recommend them as “a must-have” when one visits another country. So, stuff your phone with online and offline applications that can help you break down the language barrier that separates people from other countries.
1. Google Translate
Google is a tech biggie which has roots spread in every domain. In this case, a popular service they offer is Google Translate which is a mobile translator with a very simple interface. It is able to reproduce translations aloud and supports more than 60 languages while offering different input methods and an SMS translator.
With only a couple of clicks on the screen, select the input and output languages and then enter the desired text. In addition, it shows alternatives for misspelled translations and has a button to change from the input to output language very quickly. All searched words or phrases are saved in a history panel so that you can return and see them again.
Besides the traditional writing, the application permits handwriting, voice recognition and optical character recognition. The last one, abbreviated to OCR, is a method to translate text from a picture or handwritten text and to use it, just select the camera icon within the program. Unfortunately, this feature cannot be used for photos that are already in the device’s gallery.
Till recently, an internet connection was necessary to use this application. Fortunately, now it can also be used offline by downloading language packs that have sizes between 150 and 300 MB. They are available in a great number (over 50), but be aware because they are not as comprehensive as the online ones.
2. Bing Translator
Bing Translator is a useful application made by Microsoft which can perform translations in 43 languages. This application goes beyond the basic functions and allows three different input methods: keyboard, voice, and camera.
It has a simple and easy-to-use interface and it’s able to automatically recognize the input language. When it’s first opened, the application will ask for the input method and after that for the language settings. Once the languages are set, they can be easily changed between them with only a tap of a button.
The camera input represents the most interesting feature because unlike other applications that take photos and send them to their servers, Bing Translator directly translates on the screen any text written in the specified input language. It’s perfect for translating street signs, books, menus and everything that can be readable. Thanks to its features, it can continuously translate in only seconds.
Another impressive feature is the offline support. Bing Translator has a dozen downloadable dictionaries and developers are working to add more in the near future. A dictionary is 30-40 MB, but it’s very useful when you travel to another country where having a data connection is a luxury.
This application is available only for Windows Phone users and it can be downloaded for free from the official store.
Jibbigo is not a usual dictionary because it’s actually a speech translator. All you have to do is select the output language, speak a sentence and the application will translate aloud. It supports 21 languages from which only a dozen have the speech feature implemented and for the others, translations are shown as a text.
It’s perfect for simple conversations you may have when traveling abroad because its vocabulary with over 40,000 words can easily manage translations on-the-go. The voice recognition system is very good and also shows the given and the translated text on the screen.
iTranslate is an award-winning application which supports over 60 languages. It’s one of the easiest, fastest and most accurate applications of its type and also has a big pack with different capabilities. The nice thing is that you will have only to speak and the application will automatically translate.
Once launched, the application will show two circular microphones (similar to Siri) with a flag overlaid which indicates the input and the output languages. Click on the “Options” button from the left of the screen to select the desired languages.
After pressing the microphone and speaking your sentence the application will transform it into text which will be shown on the screen. In case the application misses a word or it misunderstood the phrase, tap the part of the screen where it is and correct it. iTranslate is also able to share translated phrase over e-mail, Twitter, SMS, Facebook and save all history and favorite searches so that can be accessed offline.
5. Voice Translate Pro
Voice Translate Pro simplifies the whole process of translating words or phrases. This application supports over 10 languages that are spoken in over 100 countries, making the conversation with foreign people very easy. The voice recognition system is very complex being able to recognize even tongue twisted and complicated phrases or word constructions.
To use this application, just choose the preferred input and output languages and speak into your phone. It will automatically translate and speak the result back. Also, the whole process is very easy thanks to its easy-to-use interface. Take into consideration that developers are constantly improving this application, updates with other languages may appear very soon.
Voice Translate Pro costs $0.99 and it’s available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch from the iTunes store.
6. Tourist language learn & speak
Tourist language learn & speak is a helpful application specially designed for tourists, with a great number of offerings. At this point, it supports only the most spoken languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Mandarin and so forth. Other languages will be added shortly in further updates because the application is still in development.
This software contains useful phrases for different situations, such as travel, transportation, emergency situations, food, and accommodation. A very important thing is that Tourist language learn & speak is used offline so no internet connection is required. Developers are searching for people that can help them with translating usual phrases and words in other languages.
The application is free and available only for Android devices.
7. Navita Translator
Navita Translator is an award-winning application specialized in translating words and phrases between over 50 different languages. Basically, it has an English, Spanish or Portuguese interface through which you can choose to translate words using Google’s or Bing’s translating services.
A nice thing about Navita Translator is that it allows translating and speaking words or phrases directly from SMS, e-mails, browsers or direct input. It’s capable to speak in languages such as English, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, French, Italian or German. Also, this application has an easy-to-use interface and the capability of sharing the translated words via Twitter, e-mail, SMS, pin or memo.
Unfortunately, the device has to be connected to the internet every time when the application is used. All in all, this is the best choice for BlackBerry users that can be downloaded for free, or bought for $5.99 to eliminate those annoying ads.
8. SayHi Translate
SayHi Translate is an application especially designed to replace interpreters. Just talk to your device and the application will reproduce the translated words at a very good quality. It offers a voice recognition system and it supports 40 languages while more will be added with future updates.
The voice recognition is one of the best because it has at least 95% accuracy when converting words to text. In addition, this application offers the capability to speak with another person in other language and translate for the both of you, while working through a remarkably simple interface.
How can it do this? The translation can be bi-directional so that it can translate from the input language to the output one and vice-versa. Another nice offering is the voice customization which allows choosing between a male or female voice when the application speaks.
More, if the speaking is too fast for you, the application permits to change the speed of the voice by moving a slider towards left or right.
This application can be used only online on an iPhone or iPad and it costs $0.99 from iTunes.
9. Lonely Planet Offline Translator
Lonely Planet Offline Translator is made by the biggest travel guide book publisher in the world. With their last application, a user can easily translate words or phrases in other languages by just speaking or typing them.
At this moment, this application supports only a small number of languages (Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Iraqi Arabic), but in the near future developers are saying that they will add more. In addition, Lonely Planet Offline Translator is bilingual so it allows translating from English to another language and also vice-versa.
The best part is that it doesn’t need an internet connection so that all those big costs due to data and roaming fees in other countries will disappear. That’s why you can use it anywhere, anytime without having to pay a lot to the mobile companies or waiting to find a Wi-Fi hotspot to use the application.
Lonely Planet Offline Translator is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad and it costs $4.99.
10. Trippo Mondo Voice Translator
You should also check the Trippo Mondo Voice Translator because it’s a very useful application for translating any given phrase in over 30 languages. This application also supports text-to-speech for 20 languages, SMS/e-mail translation and the capability to share results over Tweeter or Facebook.
The application is able to speak all translated phrases and to slow down the speed of the voice if it’s too fast for you. It has to be used online so data connections or Wi-Fi are necessary. Thanks to Trippo the language barrier can be easily broken down so just download it for free from Google Play store.