If you suddenly find yourself in Moscow but you don’t speak Russian, you could end up in quite a precarious situation for lack of Russian translation. After all, it is difficult to order a meal or find your way around if you don’t speak at least a bit of the language. Luckily, with these five translation apps, you can do everything from order a beer in peace to navigate the subway system without winding up in an old Soviet-era bunker. Let translation make your life just a little bit easier.
If you are in need of some translation help, you really can’t go wrong with Google Translate. Most agree that it is one of the best tools around, whether you are using it in app form or in mobile form. Though it does struggle with longer, more complicated sentences, it is pretty adept at translating short phrases, and it tends to beat out most other free translation services in comparison tests. An added bonus? It also is the most comprehensive app on our list. Want to translate something into Swahili? You got it. Yiddish? Not a problem. Quechua? Check. Basically, there isn’t a language this thing can’t translate.
Translation Pro: iOS
This easy-to-use app boasts a handy phrase-book style menu in addition to on-the-fly translation capabilities, boasting such categories as bargaining, ordering food and drink, travel, and even romance. The app boasts language capabilities for 50 languages, though only 11 of these languages are compatible with the phrase-book feature.
Type in a word, pick your target language, and translate. This convenient app boasts a swap feature (so if you are translating into Spanish, you can easily “swap” between the Spanish word and English word) and also saves your translation history, so you won’t have to look up the word for “restaurant” 27 different times. A lifesaver for sure.
What to do if you find yourself stuck in the middle of Shanghai with limited Mandarin translation skills desperately trying to type out the word for “lost” on an online dictionary via your mobile phone with your left hand while precariously balancing six heavy bags of groceries on your right hand? Well, you ask Ziggy, of course. This unique translation app boasts a Siri-like interface so users can verbally dictate the phrases they would like translated. Ask Ziggy will then speak back the translation in the target language, as well as display a written translation on the screen. Available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, this app is an absolute must for all travelers.
Bing Translator: Windows Phone
The good news? Bing Translator for Windows Phone is without a doubt a top-notch free translation app. Potentially even the best on the market. It can process phrases for translation via the keyboard, camera, and voice recognition. The camera feature is especially handy. All you have to do is make sure the text is lined up correctly, and the app will overlay a translation over the source text.
It also boasts an offline pack for download that allows users to translate even without an Internet connection. Good news for all of you backpackers trekking through remote regions of the earth! The bad news? This app is only available for Windows Phone. iPhone and Android users will just have to hope a more comprehensive version comes out soon.