null
Breaking the Language Barrier: Best Free Translation Apps

Breaking the Language Barrier: Best Free Translation Apps

Mar 19th 2019

Planes, trains and automobiles have made it easy for you to move around the world. But, while travel across geographic borders is easier than ever, there’s still one barrier that can stand in your way: the language barrier. You haven’t had a Spanish class since high school and your knowledge of Mandarin is limited to oranges. And, even if you’re multilingual, there’s a good chance there’s a language that you haven’t quite mastered. But you’ve got an expert translator right in your pocket: your phone.

Beyond language dictionaries, there are several free apps that will translate spoken or written language. Whether you’re looking to experience a different country like a local, or just grab a bite to eat, here some of the best AndroidTM apps and iPhone® apps to help you break the language barrier.

Google® Translate (iOS®, Android)

Google Translate is probably the most well-known translation app available. It offers more than 100 languages that can be detected by text, voice or character recognition. And, when used with Google Lens, it can translate written messages instantly.

  • Languages: 100
  • Voice translation
  • Text translation
  • Image translation

TripLingoTM (iOS, Android)

Sometimes, things get lost in translation. For example, a Russian hotel door sign might translate literally to “please do not worry” in English, when the intended message is “please do not disturb.” These slight differences can leave travelers confused. TripLingo aims to change that by making it easy and fun to spot the nuances of a foreign language, along with local customs, etiquette and more. This cool app covers 42 languages and offers voice, image and text translation, different slang levels, professionally recorded audio files and even a “culture crash course” to help you get familiar with the lay of the land.

  • Languages: 42
  • Voice translation
  • Text translation
  • Image translation

Naver Papago TranslateTM (iOS, Android)

Because most translation apps are developed by people in Western or English-speaking countries, the languages of Asian countries often aren’t included or translated well. Naver Papago, from the creator of Korea’s top search engine, is bridging the language and cultural gap by providing translations for Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai and many other common Asian languages. The free app provides support for text, voice, conversation and image. There’s also a dictionary and phrasebook to help with basic expressions.

  • Languages: 13
  • Voice translation
  • Conversation translation
  • Text translation
  • Image translation
  • Language dictionary
  • Phrasebook

WayGoTM (iOS, Android)

WayGo is a visual translator app that helps you easily decode Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. Started as an educational app, the founders realized it could also be a cool app to help travelers better understand the world around them. The best part is that WayGo works without an internet connection, so you don’t have use data or Wi-Fi.

  • Languages: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Japanese and Korean
  • Text translation
  • Camera Translation
  • Offline mode available

SayHiTM (iOS, Android)

It can be awkward trying to have a conversation with strangers. Doubly so when you don’t speak the same language. But SayHi makes it a bit easier, and could give you a great ice breaker. SayHi offers conversational translations for 90 languages and dialects. Just select a language, speak or type your message and instantly get the translation. While conversational translation is included in other translation apps, SayHi’s navigation and design makes it easier to have a natural conversation with someone instead of waiting for your response to load.

  • Languages: 90 languages and dialects
  • Voice translation
  • Text translation

Getting the Last Word In

While mass transit has made getting around the world a lot easier, it’s technology that’s bridging the gaps between our cultures and languages. Cool apps like the ones we featured have made it easier not only to go native, but also to share our own experiences. Now, we can enjoy the exotic cuisine of Vietnam or chat with locals in French cafes with less awkwardness and frustration.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

*All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.