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Translation Apps: Are They Worth the Hype?

Nothing can hold you back from travelling to a foreign country like the dreaded language barrier. If you have been in a situation where you played charades as your main mean of communication, then you must be aware that linguistic troubles can make your experience that much less pleasant and take its toll on your otherwise unbeatable social skills. Luckily, translation apps have come to the rescue and you have nothing to worry about anymore! Or do you?

What can translation apps do for you?

In this day and age, it is unthinkable to travel without our dearly beloved smartphones. They are our personal tour guides, payment methods and most importantly personal translators without the hefty price tag. These apps claim to have come to destroy the language barrier and have you covered during your next adventure overseas... Until your battery dies.

What are the best features about translation apps?

The real zinger is the that some translation apps do not require any typing action. I have heard of translation apps that provide a lens function that prompts the user to point the phone at a sign or a written text. This can be particularly useful for restaurant menus, for example, if your phone does not have the required language keyboard or you are simply too lazy to type. This kind of app captures the targeted text, transforms the original image into the selected language via augmented reality text. Other sophisticated translation tools listen to you and your fellow conservationists and translate your speech as you go. It sounds too good to be true. But it is true. Here are some examples of translation apps that we have tried and recommend as your new preferred travel companion.
  1. iTranslate Voice 3 ☆☆☆

iTranslate Voice 3 is based on voice-to-voice communication. I have tested this translation app on my mobile phone and can give it credits for providing a quick and easy access for my frequently used phrases. This is ideal for repetitive situations such as going to the supermarket, restaurants and shops. Another bonus is that it provides a feature called "AirTranslate" which allows two users to connect their phones to each other and have a simultaneous conversation in two languages.


  1. Google Translate ☆☆☆☆
Google Translate is probably the most popular translation app in history. It outnumbers other translation apps in terms of supported languages. The most advantageous feature Google Translate provides is the text recognition function, which saves the user the trouble of typing or installing the required keyboard. Interestingly, it also provides a wide range of keyboards for those who do not have the keyboard installed on their smartphone and feel comfortable typing in the concerned language.
  1. Microsoft Translator ☆☆☆☆
Microsoft Translator is probably one of the most versatile translation apps on the market. It provides versions for personal, business and education use. The most interesting aspect about this translation app is that the educational version is intended to achieve a more inclusive classroom for students who are not fluent, deaf or hard of hearing through assistive technology.

Are translation apps worth trying?

The truth about translation apps is that they can be fairly amazing for everyday interactions and a great tool to fall back on during your trips. Why hold back from your dream destinations when you can put a free translator in your pocket?

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