When you travel abroad you might find yourself trapped in a place where people do not actually speak your language. As trivial as it seems knowledge of foreign languages comes in handy when you are out there exploring the world. Let’s face it though – we are not all that talented and juggling the range of languages from Mandarin to Hindu might not come to us all with the same ease. And since not the whole world apparently speaks English I have selected a few apps for your smartphone that will help you with your linguistic struggles. Apps also help us stay in touch with the people who luckly speak our language. Tech is not all that bad.
I’ve been having fun with this app. And I must say, I’m impressed. It’s fast in translating, accurate and the voice technology is brilliant. And when I say brilliant I mean you can choose to sound like Barack Obama- now to perfect that kind of diction is wow. iTranslate is what sci-fi films have been promising us for a while- it’s your personal electronic interpreter. You say something to the app in your native language and after a second it speaks it out in the language you choose. If there’s a language barrier between you and the person you wish to speak with- download this app. I envision this app changing the dating world. Seriously. I know stories of couples of different nationalities that really had some hurdles to jump, before they eventually learned each others languages. But iTranslate can also aid negotations and other day-to-day encounters. It supports over 60 languages and of the 3 languages I speak- I can say that speech recognition is very good. The only thing I cannot comment on is the scope of its vocabulary- but I don’t imagine that being an issue with iTranslate.
I’m curious, would you see yourself using iTranslate on a date?
Available on iPhone (€0,99)
Better Translator Pro
Dear traveller – meet the best-rated translation app on Android. It offers more than 50 languages that are supported in text-to-text mode. And it gets even better – 11 of those languages work with the app’s voice recognition function. As for accuracy, it’s plugged in to both Google and Bing’s translation services, meaning results very rarely make no sense. Don’t expect to be fluent right away but this app will come handy in many common situations like gettig around or ordering a meal.
Sadly available only on Android
Now this is a real masterpiece of technology – this app that instantly translates foreign text via your phone’s camera. Though the download itself costs nothing and comes bundled with a couple of demo settings, you’ll need to shell out around eight bucks (via in-app purchase) for one of the language packs, with English and French currently on offer. Might seem a bit pricey in use but it proves to be worth every penny.
Available only on iPhone (free) and iPad (free)
Surprised? Yes – the WhatsApp Messenger may be used as a communication tool as well. It will not help you translate but comes handy when missing your relatives and willing to stay in touch with friends. This cross-platform messaging system is slowly but surely rendering the text message obsolete. Data (that’s pictures, videos, sound clips and GPS tags as well as text) are sent using either wi-fi or your phone’s web package, so even if you’re sending a message to someone on the other side of the globe, you pay absolutely nothing.
Available on iPhone (£0.69), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)
We live in a world where not many still remember postcards. I mean those rectangular, papery things you used to send to make others envy you your travels. Those ones we all used to appreciate before the world went digital. Touchnote is an app-cum-print-service allows you to hark back to the analogue era by creating and sending physical cards bearing your own travel snaps and text to anywhere in the world, for a thoroughly reasonable £1.49 a pop.
Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free) and Android (free)
Let’s be honest – there comes a time when you really want to to call an Ethiopian a maniac, or seriously offend someone on the streets of Oslo and suggest they are… Well you can do it all thanks to Swearport. This neatly indexed catalogue of international expletives offers all the swearing you can think about. Just remember to use it wisely and be careful with some strangers who run faster than you.
Available on Android only (£1)