Not so long ago, anyone who was traveling had to get their translations and conversions from books. Going on a tour of multiple foreign countries meant having to pack an extra bag full of phrasebooks just so you could get by, which mean that only the most industrious and adventurous would try traveling without a guide. Today, however, with the widespread use of smart phones and smart phone applications, translating during your travels is easier than ever. Here are some apps you might want to download.

Google Translate

Google is the reigning king of the internet, so it should be no surprise that one of their efforts stands out as being among the best. With Google Translate, you can speak your question or statement into your phone's microphone and have it automatically translate them on the screen in one of fifty different languages. It also has a text based entry function. You have to be online to use it, but if you know you're going to be out of service range you can store phrases you'll think you need in your phone's memory.


For trips that take you beyond wi-fi connected hotels and into the wilds where cell service is spotty, Jibbingo is the translation app you want. It has an offline database of over 40,000 words that you can access via text or speech. It even has a speech to speech function, which allows you to let your phone do the talking. Its major drawback is the price, which comes in at $5 or more per language that you wish to translate, but that's not a lot of money to spend to secure peace of mind during your travels.


Often times the best way to work out a tricky translation is to combine your database results with the input of real speakers who can make your pitch not sound like badly translated Chinese product directions. Interpret lets you do this. It's capable of handling over 50 languages and of pulling results from other databases like Google and Bing as long as your phone is connected to the internet. And best of all, it's free!


At $20 per language, this translation app is one of the more expensive ones, but it has enough features to be worth the money. What sets it apart from the crowd isn't just the 290,000 translations it has in it's database, it's also the fact that it lets you call up dictionaries and word conjugation charts that allow you to talk about subjects in any tense or person. And the best part about it is that it can do all these things without needing an internet connection.

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