5 Best Free Online Translators and How to Get the Most Out of Them

When it comes to these five amazing free online translators, everyone is a winner.

They’re chock-full of features, they offer great translations and they’re difficult to match in quality.

Some even have their own translation apps so you can take their powerful capabilities with you wherever you go.

Here’s all you need to know about the best online translator apps that money can’t buy.


1. Google Translate best-free-online-translator

Available on: iOS | Android

Google Translate is a big name in the field, and with good reason. It offers a huge array of features and supports over 100 languages.

  • Audio pronunciation for common languages. This includes Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The first time you play the audio is at a conversational rate. The second play is at a slower rate to help you master tricky pronunciations.
  • Translates between 133 languages. That includes even some languages you might not have heard of yet, like Frisian and Sesotho.
  • Automatic language detection. Just enter the text, website or document and Google Translate can figure out what language it is.
  • Translate text, website, document or photo. You can input your text directly, enter a webpage link, upload a document or quickly snap a picture.
  • Handwriting feature available. This is helpful for those that don’t have typing skills for their target language yet, such as Japanese or Russian.
  • Visual keyboard to input other alphabets. Google Translate offers a keyboard you can open to type in words using your target alphabet.
  • Speech input for common languages. This allows you to quickly speak and get a translation. You might even record someone speaking in your target language so that you fully grasp what they’re saying.
  • Multiple translations per search and ratings of how common they are. This is helpful since translations can depend on context.
  • Provides definitions. When you input individual words, definitions will appear below.
  • Share, save or copy words. Share translations through email, Twitter or Google+, or copy them to your clipboard. You can even “save” words for easy access the next time you use Google Translate.

2. Bing Microsoft Translator microsoft bing translator

Available on: iOS | Android

While Bing Microsoft Translator doesn’t have as many features as Google Translate, it does have some great offerings. Some users feel that Bing’s translations may even be better for certain languages.

  • Audio pronunciation for common languages. This includes Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
  • Supports 100+ languages. Other than the most popular languages, this tool also has some less expected offerings, like Klingon and Yucatec Maya.
  • Translate text, voice or photo. This gives you plenty of input options for your translation needs.
  • Chat with other users. Start a conversation with other app users so you can easily communicate sans language barriers.
  • Phrasebooks in various languages. Covering topics like lodging, dining and emergencies, this is perfect for travelers and learners on the go. 
  • Saves history of searches. You can retrieve previous translations and check out any pinned searches.

3. Reverso reverso logo

Available on: iOS | Android

Here’s another convenient translator app to add to your toolbox. It doesn’t translate for quite as many languages as the translators above but has some special features that make it worth using.

  • Audio pronunciations. Reverso offers audio pronunciations for most of its languages.
  • Translation in 14 languages. Reverso offers Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Spanish.
  • Multiple translations per search. For most common words and phrases, Reverso will provide you with several possible translations.
  • Provides example sentences. This is very useful for learning how to use new vocabulary in context.
  • Offers spelling and grammar checks. If you’re unsure about the grammar of the text you’re translating, run it through Reverso’s spell/grammar check to generate the most accurate translation.
  • More features available with a subscription. Advanced features include pronunciation, search history, phrasebooks and other learning tools available offline.

4. Yandex Translate yandex translate logo

Available on: iOSAndroid

Now that we’ve covered the big three free translators, let’s talk about the lesser-known Yandex Translate. This tool utilizes self-learning statistical machine translation and supports 100 languages.

  • Also supports transliterations of languages. You can also translate Chinese pinyin, Japanese romaji, Korean romanization and more.
  • Offers speech input for certain languages. Speech input is available in Russian, Ukrainian, English, or Turkish.
  • Translate text, photos, articles, entire websites and more. If you’re reading on an iPad, you can utilize the “Split View” feature. 
  • Virtual keyboard. You can use its virtual keyboard function to type symbols if you don’t have an international keyboard.
  • Learn new words with examples. Enhance your learning by accessing usage examples of the words you translate. 

5. Translatedict translatedict logo

Translatedict is a web-based translator that supports more than 50 languages.

  • Auto-detects language or dialect. This makes it easier to type in the language you need to translate.
  • Audio pronunciation. You can use this to make sure you’re saying the translations correctly.
  • Speech input available. There’s also an accent detector to catch any inflections, intonations and other nuances for a more accurate translation.
  • Word and character count. This is displayed at the bottom and comes in handy for social media posts that limit character counts.

Why Is It Important to Use the Best Online Translators?

For one thing, the accuracy of translations can vary wildly. If you’ve learned anything from your translation exercises, it’s probably that there are multiple ways to translate any word or phrase, and some ways are much better (and more accurate) than others. Translations vary with online translators, too, but usually, the higher-quality options have worked out more of the kinks to create better output than other translators.

Plus, each online translator has different features, and some have more features than others. Some websites focus more on simple translations, while others have unique features that make them more like a hybrid of a conventional translator and a learning website. For language students, these additional features can offer a firmer grasp of the language, word meaning, pronunciation and more.

Additionally, the best online translators can not only translate but help you learn. A good online translator can actually add to your vocabulary. If you use it correctly and often, your favorite free online translator might just help you learn languages for free.

How to Get the Most Out of a Free Online Translator

Try some “test phrases” to see test accuracy.

Try translating phrases you already know between your native language and your target language—the more challenging the grammar and vocabulary, the better. Testing translators with phrases you already know can help give you an idea of how well the translator works with your specific target language.

Translate the text back and forth between languages.

Translating back and forth between languages is a helpful way to ensure the translation means what you want it to mean. For instance, if you’ve translated a phrase into your target language, try plugging that phrase back into the translator to get a clearer idea of what it actually means in English. Sometimes, this can help you catch translation or word choice errors.

Play around with all of the translator’s features.

Translators have a lot of different features, but many users only use them to translate text they encounter. Because of this, they miss out on some of the best, most useful features available. For instance, if you always just want text translated, you might not even notice that your favorite translator offers terrific audio of words and phrases in your target language that you can use to nail down your pronunciation.

Use your translator frequently.

Whenever you realize you don’t know a word, use your favorite translator to look it up. Since these top online translators are handy (some of which can be used offline), it’s easy to use a translator whenever you have a spare moment. If you use the translator regularly, your vocabulary will likely grow exponentially with very little effort.

Find real-world examples of words you look up.

Some translators provide example sentences, which is great for learning in context. But it’s a good idea to take things a step further and ensure that you’re able to recognize and understand a word outside of the translator.

To understand words and the contexts they operate in, you need to observe the words in real-world contexts where native speakers are communicating naturally, such as interviews, podcasts and more.

FluentU can also be helpful in terms of learning from native speakers.

FluentU is a language learning app filled with authentic videos, from news clips to comedy sketches, equipped with interactive subtitles. You can practice words and phrases from subtitles through lists and flashcards, then challenge yourself with personalized quizzes. 

Use it to check your work. 

Wrote something in your target language? Get out your favorite translator to check it. You can translate it back to English to be sure the message is what you intended.


Try these five online translator apps, and the winner will be you!

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