In today’s digitally connected age we are fortunate to have connectivity and access to our smartphone/tablet of choice virtually everywhere we travel. Regardless of location, in most instances, we will be able to utilise our smartphones and tablets in some capacity. One of the advantages of this new era in technology is that the savvy traveller can now take advantage of the many wonderful applications designed to enhance any type of trip. When it comes to travelling to new lands it is always handy to have easy to use, informative and fast language translation tools at your fingertips.
As technology tears down cultural boundaries, it is now becoming much easier to communicate across borders. Smartphones and tablets are now more than ever before allowing for language barriers to be broken in ways we never once imagined. If you’re like me and seem to not be able to go anywhere without your personal electronic devices then this is a great opportunity to review some of top language translation applications currently available.
Obviously (and I’m not just saying this because I’m biased) none of these will replace or do the same job as a professional translator or interpreter. But if you need to get by and/or want to have some fun while you’re on your travels these will help. So here you go… 3 language translation apps for the modern traveller.
3 Language Translation Apps
Google Translate (FREE)
First on the list is Google Translate. We know it has its faults and please don’t trust this tool for any serious project but it is good at what it does. Part of this is the quality Google brings to the table on almost each and every project it puts out. They have the resources and knowledge to put together great tools and that certainly shows in the Google Translate app.
Filled with useful language features such as;
- voice input for 17 languages
- spoken translations for 24 languages and,
- text translations for 63 languages
… you can certainly have a lot of fun with this app when you’re out and about.
If you’ve used the online version of Google Translate then you should already be accustomed to the options and controls. Google Translates is easy to use and its interface and ability to save previously translated words/sentences offline make it great when you’re out of wifi range. Another bonus is that this language translation app is free. You can get it from the links below.
Vocre / MyLanguage (Apple = $4.99, Android = $0.99)
Vocre Translate by MyLanguage is a TechCrunch Disrupt & LAUNCH Festival award-winning app that feeds off of your own voice to communicate with others regardless of the language. The main focus of the Vocre app is to make multi-language conversations possible, in real-time which it actually does in impressive fashion. All you have to do is speak into your phone, flip your device, and the app will vocalize the translation.
With the ability to translate your voice into 38 languages Vocre is a powerful language-translation tool you want to have available to you during any adventure. One negative of this app is it can become costly to translate but the prices do change so just be aware of the cost with this app. MyLanguage also features a suite of other language apps that are for sure worth checking out also.
Lonely Planet Fast Talk (FREE + $5.99 Per Language)
The Lonely Planet Fast Talk phrasebook is language translation guide that favours audibility, clarity and quality over variety.
Supporting hundreds of easy to access handpicked phrases from 31 different languages Fast Talk specialises in converting commonly used words into perfectly accurate audio clips.
You pick the word or phrase you would like to hear translated and the app will translate it into the language of your choosing. This includes a phonetic pronunciation and a sound clip. For these reasons, it’s as much an app to teach as it is to translate. Not terribly cheap, but you’re paying for quality here and it’s useful too.
Download links are here…>> Apple
Plango (FREE + In-App Purchases)
I know I said top 3 but this one is also worth a mention (it came a very close 4th place) :).
Like Planet Fast Talk the Plango app is less concerned with on-the-go language translation and is more focused on long-term learning. Teaching written and spoken language comprehension through a multimedia magazine format Plango features, sound and text synchronisation, automated page-turning, variable audio speeds and on-the-fly language improvement.
Providing the full audio-visual language learning experience Plango is an ideal app platform to improve your foreign language pronunciation, comprehension, spelling and reading. This is a great app for learning various languages while travelling. Have some downtime on a trip? Why not check this one out. Download it from iTunes.
So if you do have an upcoming holiday/vacation or business trip to a foreign land deploying the above smartphone and android apps will be useful in almost any language translation travel situation. It can be daunting to visit somewhere you do not know and especially when you do not understand the language and forms of communication. By utilizing the above apps you can put many of your language translation travel difficulties to rest all while having an enhanced experience with the local culture. And believe me, the people you talk to abroad will appreciate you making an effort (sadly making an effort will put you heads and shoulder above the average holidaymaker). While most of us can not leave home without our favourite electronic device attached to our hip these too are also a few apps for the avid traveller that you should not go on the road without.
Have a trip to a foreign country coming up? Going somewhere where you do not speak the language? What are your favourite language translation travel apps to use? What language do you hope to learn and speak on your next travel adventure? Talk to me… leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.