If you’re traveling abroad, learning a new language, or need help reading a sign or menu, these are the best translation apps worth downloading. While the most popular option is Google Translate, there are several other helpful translator apps with various languages or features worth considering.
What to Look For in a Translator App
What to Look For in a Translator App
The type of translator app you need depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. These apps can translate text, speech, images, or even carry on a real-time conversation with someone speaking a different language. Some offer audio pronunciations, example sentences, or even offline support so you can keep translating without an internet connection.
- Usability: One of the first things you’ll want to look for is usability and features. If the app is clunky, hard to manage, or takes too long to translate, you’ll get frustrated and give up. That’s one area where Google Translate really shines.
- Languages: Obviously, having an app with the language you want is a big deal. No app supports every language out there, so make sure the app you download supports the exact language you need if it is not super common. Google’s app supports over 100 languages online and over 50 languages offline to save you a bit of time.
- Pronunciation: If you want to speak the language, instead of letting your phone do it, choose one that offers audio pronunciation, that way, you can talk the talk.
- Extras: Some apps are simply a dictionary that will translate individual words, which is helpful, while others are full of features. Being able to translate images (like a street sign) or read a restaurant menu can really come in handy, so keep that in mind.
As expected, our first suggestion is Google Translate, as it has the widest selection of features, languages, and benefits. It can translate over 108 languages, including 59 when you’re offline. You’ll love the conversation mode, image capture, and the ability to overlay Google Translate over the top of other apps and translate what’s on the screen in real-time.
Google Translate works on the web, Android, iOS, and can even sync between your devices if you’re logged in. That way, when you save words or phrases to the Phrasebook, you’ll have everything readily available on your travels, no matter which device you use.
A free option to bigger apps is SayHi Translate. While it offers plenty of features and supports 90 languages or dialects, its most useful aspect is conversation mode. You can type into the app and get the translation, but the voice option is best. You can even control the speed at which SayHi translates conversations.
Just open SayHi, choose your source and target languages, and start speaking. From there, the translation appears on the screen and is read aloud. That way, you can talk in your own language, and it’ll say it back to an Uber driver, restaurant waiter, or to new friends you meet in another country.
To keep up with Google, Apple announced its own Translation app with the release of iOS 14. Apple’s built-in translation app can translate text and speech, carry on a real-time conversation with someone speaking a different language, has an extensive dictionary, and lets you save phrases or specific words. And while Apple Translate only supports 11 languages so far, we expect more options in future updates.
Next up is Dictionary Linguee, which is more of a dictionary and language reference app than anything. It doesn’t have as many features as something like Google or Apple’s offerings, but it could be perfect depending on what you need.
Dictionary Linguee is a powerful multilingual dictionary with support for dozens of languages. You’ll get example sentences, audio pronunciation, offline support, and a few other useful features. We really like the predictive mode, too: here, when you start typing a word, it’ll predict what you’re looking for and instantly show translations, potentially saving you a ton of time. It also works on tablets and is entirely free, which is nice.
It’s great to have one app that does everything, but if you’re looking to keep things simple and purely want help readings signs, documents, or menus, without all the other distractions, consider TextGrabber. Simply point your camera at something, get a translation, and you’re all set. It also offers voice playback of translations to help you learn, but its main focus is grabbing and translating content with the camera.
For those unaware, Microsoft also has a pretty powerful translate app. You can easily translate languages from images, screenshots, messages, audio, apps, or anything else you capture with your camera. In addition, Microsoft supports over 70 languages in both online and offline mode, which is better than most on our list.
Plus, Microsoft offers enterprise features like multi-person conversation translation. Just connect all the members and their devices and have in-person conversations with up to 100 people across multiple languages. Now that’s neat!
Last but not least, we wanted to recommend one of the most powerful and original translation apps, which is iTranslate. Like Google, it offers voice-to-voice translation in over 100 languages, image capture, offline mode, and even the ability to switch on an AR mode. By this, we mean instead of just taking a photo of something and using the app to translate, you can launch AR mode, and it’ll instantly translate the names of items in a room, like a couch, guitar, or chair.
iTranslate Translator is perfect for travelers, students, employers, medical staff, business professionals, and more.
So whether you’re traveling for the holidays, vacation, or business, you’ll always be ready to go, talk, and communicate with these apps.