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Not multilingual? You don’t actually need to be with these apps, all which will help you read, speak and understand a variety of different languages. Using translation apps will make ordering food, taking taxis and communicating with locals a stress-free, enjoyable experience when traveling abroad. Here are the top TPG picks for the six of the best translation apps.
One of the most popular translation apps in the world, iTranslate has more than 51,000 ratings on iTunes — and most of them four and five stars. The app can translate between 100 different languages and there’s even a special version for Apple Watch so you can translate on your wrist if needed. The basic app is free, but the Pro version, which costs $39.99 per year (or $4.99 per month), has off-line capabilities, website translation, voice mode and verb conjugations. The basic version is available for free on iTunes or Google Play.
This app allows you to do it all — with translation into 103 languages via typing and 59 languages offline. You can use handwriting, where you draw text or characters instead of typing in 93 languages and camera translation in 37 languages, where you point your camera and snap for an instant translation. Google Translate is simple to use to, with icons at the top you can click on to draw, take a photo, speak or type. Available for free on iTunes or Google Play.
If you want to sound savvy abroad, TripLingo will help you sound like a local as well as helping you seamlessly adapt to the culture. You start by selecting a destination and downloading the pack for your desired spot. For example, if you’re heading to Spain, you’ll have a voice translator that will translate your voice into Spanish, an image translator, a selection of key Spanish phrases and when to say them, a Wi-Fi dialer so you can make calls from abroad and even a section with tipping, safety and cultural norms to ensure you’ll blend right in. The phrase section is particularly ample, with sections on humor and fun, nightlife and even flirting. Available for free on iTunes or Google Play, and the Pro version ($39.99 for three months) will unlock even more phrases and content.
Specializing in Asian languages, Papago translates between Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified/Traditional), Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian. Translations are available in the form of text and voice, and you can also have a conversation using the app, where you can simultaneously speak each other’s language while speaking with a local. Photo translation is also available and there both a dictionary and a phrase book for you to check out even more meanings. Available for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Waygo only translates between English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean, but it can be a lifesaver if you’re stuck sans Wi-Fi as it’s available entirely offline. The app is best used with the instant camera — just point at signs and menus and then see your translation. Foodies will find Waygo particularly useful, as you can go into the food picture mode after translating a menu item to better understand what you’re about to order. The app will also help with pronunciation in case you need to say something in one of the other languages. Available for free on iTunes and Google Play.
You’ll be able to speak over 40 different languages with iTranslate Voice, which not only has pre-made, useful travel phrases but has special voice translation. Just speak into your phone and it will immediately translate your voice into your chosen language. Plus, you can export, copy and share transcripts of all your voice conversations and save favorite phrases in your custom phrasebook. Available for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Know before you go.
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