Do any of those translator apps actually work?


If you’re a frequent flyer, you probably often end up in places where you don’t speak the language. Whether you’re there for business or pleasure, communicating with the people around you is essential. How else will you learn about the cool, tucked-away spots that only the locals know? What if you need quick directions to the nearest bathroom? What happens when you need your caffeine fix and there’s not a Starbucks in sight?

The answer used to be: pull out your bulky English-to-Spanish dictionary and deliver a clunky sentence full of mispronunciations. Today, it’s: pull out your smartphone and let an app do all the work for you. Here are three of the top translator apps—one that will actually work (at least moderately well) when you’re talking to a native.

  1. Google Translate. Google has become such a trusted source of all things online that its name is basically synonymous with “internet.” So it should come as no surprise that Google Translate tops the list of many best-of translator apps list. It’s free, too, which makes it available to anyone with an iPhone or Droid. Some of the special perks of Google Translate are that it can capture text from a sign when you snap a photo and automatically translate it into your chosen language (spoiler: “sortie” means “exit”). It can also save translated words or sentences that you need often, and you can set it to pick up two different languages at once so that you can have a conversation with someone in two tongues. However, you will have to speak slowly and clearly (and preferably without much background noise) to ensure that Google Translate catches what you and your conversation partner are saying.
  2. Another free app (if you go for the “lite” version), iTranslate has also earned the respect of many frequent globetrotters thanks to its usability. There are no frills in this app, which means even the least tech-savvy shouldn’t have any problem using it. Simply set your chosen language-to-language translation, and then speak your word or phrase into iTranslate. It will repeat the words back to you in the other language. iTranslate also has the option to wirelessly connect with another speaker and converse back and forth. Keep in mind, however, that the lite version has ads, which some users find to be a nuisance.
  3. Waygo. If you intend to do business or travel in Asia, you should download Waygo right now. Half of the battle when it comes to traveling in China or Japan is distinguishing the languages’ complex characters—that alone can be a huge feat for English speakers. With Waygo, you can just snap a picture of a sign or anything else with Asian characters that you need translated, and the app will do the rest for you. You can even plug in a photo that you took previously and translate it using the app. However, Waygo is only free for 10 months—so if you don’t want to shell out money to keep it, save your translations as you go.


Top 5 Best Translator Apps [Heavy]

The 5 Best Translation Apps for Business Travelers [Inc.]

The five best translations apps for travellers [The Telegraph]

  • April 5th, 2016
  • Posted in: Avalon