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Which Is the Best Translation App for Your Travel Plans?

The Best Translation App for Your Travel Plans: mobile translation application concept.Hand holding mobile phone on blurred abstract backgrounds
Written by Going Places

Language tools aren’t typically high on the list of necessities for those packing for an extended vacation. Experienced nomads understand just how handy these apps can be though. Whether you’re lost and in need of directions, want to engage with the locals, or simply need to find a restroom, translation applications are a lifesaver when you’re on the road. The best part about these apps is that they don’t take up any physical space; something all backpackers struggle to find enough of. All you have to do is download these programs onto your phone and you’re ready to go. Let’s take a look at some of the best translation apps for this year.

Google Translate

Nomads looking for a comprehensive language app while traveling tend to download the Google Translate app. The app assists with translating over 70 languages. You can speak, type, write, or a take a picture to translate. It also works while traveling even if you aren’t connected to the Internet. The app will translate pictures stored in your phone as well. The Google Translate app is free to download.

The Best Translation App for Your Travel Plans: mobile translation application concept.Young tourist using mobile phone on blurred people walking at street as background

Microsoft Translator

There’s a solid argument for why Microsoft Translator should be just as well known and widely used as Google Translate. This dynamic app has everything a traveler needs in one handy place, including translation capabilities via image, audio, or text. Users can also pin certain translations for reference later on. Although the translation capabilities may not stand out in the crowd, Microsoft Translator’s Phrasebook provides adventurers with a helpful list of common sayings and phrases that help to set this app apart from the competition. With hundreds of phrases in countless languages spanning several categories like travel, health, dining, tech, and emergency, you’ll never be scouring through that tattered phrasebook again.

Photo Translator

Translating text is great, but traveling isn’t all verbal communication. From airports and metro stations to supermarkets and hospitals, there are written signs everywhere that convey essential information. This is especially frustrating for languages that use different alphabets or symbols. Photo Translator is bound to be your new favorite addition to the ‘essential travel’ app category. See a sign that you don’t understand? Don’t fret. Simply snap a photo and let the app work its magic. Within a few seconds, you’ll have a clear and accurate translation so you know exactly what’s going on. No more guessing or wasting time staring at a perplexing sign.

 The Best Translation App for Your Travel Plans: Young man tourist asking for directions and help from local people in tram stop outdoor.


Have you ever imagined traveling with a professional translator at your side as they do on TV? You could understand and be understood by natives perfectly. In the past, this was only achievable if you were the star in your own series or had enough money to pay a pro. Today, all of that power has been wrapped up into the pocketable and affordable iTranslate app. All you have to do is talk directly into your device while the app is running and your message will be translated into the target language of your choice. Record anyone’s response to understand what they’re saying back to you. This unlocks an entire world of communication while traveling. Talk to locals at the bar, banter with the checkout lady, or pose some serious questions to government agents. iTranslate translates into 42 different languages.

You may also enjoy reading: How to Greet People & Other Ways to Say ‘Hello’ in 12 European Languages


So you got airline tickets to a great destination you’ve always wanted to visit. Great! BUT, once you get there and you’re thumbing through your dictionary to search for the proper words to utter with the locals, it’s most likely you’re butchering the language in the process. TripLingo attempts to lessen those poor pronunciation moments while traveling through foreign lands that speak other tongues. The app helps you overcome language barriers with its voice activation feature. You can say a phrase you want translated and have it repeated in the language of your choosing. This helps the traveler not only learn a new language but also sound like a local. While it’s free to download with its most basic forms of Spanish, French, Italian, German, Hindi, Hebrew, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, and Castilian Spanish, you can also purchase the full language packs for your chosen language to gain access to all 1,200 phrases. The app is available for iPhone and Android.

The Best Translation App for Your Travel Plans: close up asian traveler woman hand pointing to smartphone touchscreen for helping tourism about travel map


There are some language tools that specialize in a few languages rather than spreading thin over dozens. Waygo is one of the leading translation apps for Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. With offline capabilities, this app even works if you don’t have a SIM card or access to WiFi. Instead of memorizing hundreds of common characters, all you have to do is point the instant camera at a sign or menu and receive an instant translation. Waygo is especially useful for foodies who want to know exactly what they’re ordering. There’s a free version that allows 10 translations each day. Waygo is available for download on Google Play and through iTunes.

Got any other thoughts on the best translation apps out there? Share them with us in the comments!

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Going Places

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