One of the most interesting things about living and traveling abroad is hearing and learning new languages. However, trying to understand and pick up a language different from your own can be a daunting task. Until you’ve reached fluency – which could take quite awhile – it’s good to know the resources available that can help you translate along the way.
If you’ve got a smart phone, then basic fluency can be just a click and point away. Here are some of the top language translation apps besides general phrasebooks and word decipherers.
Babelshot or Word Lens – Ever want to know what that sign or menu item says? Now you’ll never be left wondering. All you have to do is take a photo of the sign, highlight the text you want translated, and reap the transcribed rewards.
Cool Gorilla Talking Phrasebook – Cool Gorilla’s name says it all. It has the added bonus of being able to quickly find words using the search bar which can then be spoken by the app.
iLingual – This app allows you to choose from over 400 phrases in German, French, and Arabic. Once you choose the phrase and whether you want a man or woman’s voice, and placing the screen over your mouth, a computer generated mouth will say the phrase for you in the chosen language. No one will ever know it’s not you.
Jibbigo – This app is like having a human translator in your pocket, but without all the awkward looks. Basically, you speak into the phone and it automatically translates and speaks the words for you in the language you desire. It can also be used reversely, so another person who doesn’t speak your language can respond and it will be translated as well.
If you’re looking to take your translation services to the next level or need a higher level of accuracy, here are some other options.
Google Translate – This one is available as an app and as a website translator for your computer. It can be set to automatically ask if you want a webpage translated. It has a huge database of words and phrases and is one of the most accurate translation resources.
Live Online Translations Services – These companies let you get in touch with a live person who is bilingual and fluent in the languages that you need. You have the option of talking with them over the phone or messaging them directly. They can also act as a 3 way interpreter when you’re trying to talk with someone over the phone.