Before I leave the house, I run through a mental checklist.
Keys? In my hand.
Wallet? In my purse.
Purse? Over my shoulder.
iPhone? In my other hand.
As you can see, I’m not one who carries oodles of stuff. I have a real short must-have list.
My phone? I never leave home without it.
I suspect that you might be like me. Sure, you might have an extra thing or two to take from home in the morning. And you might swap your purse for a backpack or briefcase.
But your phone? I bet you always have it on you when you leave.
It’s a wise move, carrying an iPhone with you. Your iPhone is essentially a tool used for instant global communication. That’s right. Your phone connects you to the world—and an undeniably huge amount of information.
This is an especially useful gift for language learners—especially if we equip our iPhones with a solid translation app.
With the right app, we’re never at a loss for language skills. We never have to wonder how to ask for directions, translate signs or menus or even chat with locals. All that information—and more!—is right on our phones!
Using a translation app on your iPhone provides mobile, and sometimes entertaining, answers to language questions wherever you go.
I bet you’re wondering how you ever left home without one, right?
Well, no worries. We’ve got some incredible translation app options for that handy iPhone of yours!
Let’s check some out!
What to Look for in a Translation App
An app is a bit of computer programming designed for a specific purpose. In the case of language translation apps, they translate in a fast, uncomplicated, user-friendly way.
When you consider downloading a translation app to your iPhone, make sure that your target language is included in the languages covered by the particular app. Not all apps provide translations for all languages! Individual apps generally list the languages included along with other information on their download pages.
Secondly, see if it’s possible to customize vocabulary lists. Some apps allow learners to build personalized lists of frequently used words and phrases. This is especially beneficial if you’re going into an employment or educational setting that has a specific vocabulary set you’ll want to access frequently.
Make sure the app has the capacity to be helpful to your learning program. That is, look for one that does more than translate.
Does it have an audio feature so you can listen to, then repeat words? That’s a super way to power up your speaking skills!
Is there any gaming feature on the app? Increasing vocabulary by playing games is an ideal tool for language learning success! So, look for “extras” that will enhance your practice time.
Another feature I always look for in a translation app is whether or not casual, everyday words are included. Things like idioms or slang always attract me. It’s a neat way to learn to sound like a local!
9 Best Translation Apps for Your iPhone
While FluentU is not specifically a translation app, this app has excellent translation features!
FluentU is an online immersion platform that takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Each video contains subtitles in both the target language and English. These subtitles can be toggled on and off at will, and definitions for any subtitled words are available simply by hovering your cursor over the word in question.
While watching videos or listening to audio, you can tap on any word in the app’s interactive subtitles to better learn its meaning and see it used in context. Words and phrases are translated in a way that showcases their placement in conversations or text.
Listen to words and phrases in example sentences to perfect pronunciation and see them used in countless videos to better understand their context.
FluentU isn’t just about watching videos—it’s about learning and actively practicing the language you hear in videos. Use the interactive subtitles, flashcards, quizzes and vocabulary lists to learn English phrases better than ever!
Language Translator is an app that relies solely on users speaking into it! There’s absolutely no typing necessary to use this app. Translating with this is fast and fun and has loads of interesting applications!
Since this app allows users to speak into the phone and have their voice translated into another language, it opens the possibility to have complete conversations with someone when neither speaker knows much—or even any—of the other’s language!
I have actually seen this work for a dating couple. She spoke Spanish and he spoke French but this translation app on her iPhone allowed them to communicate while they were learning each other’s native language!
Aside from its romantic usefulness, Language Translator offers real-time translations in over 50 languages. This makes it an ideal travel companion as well as a translation tool!
Reverso Context is a translation app that offers super translation options as well as a few fun extras!
Translations appear in more than one format. That is, when a user speaks or types a word or phrase into their iPhone, a simple translation is given along with examples of how the vocabulary is used.
Sentences and short text passages give users a real feel for how the word is used in both conversational settings, as well as in literary texts. Seeing translations in context makes it easy to put words and phrases into use for learners—and it’s especially helpful for beginners who may need a bit more than just a dictionary translation.
The app also allows users to build customized vocabulary lists and flashcards. It even provides users with short quizzes based on the words most frequently translated—so it helps learners nail down vocabulary that they actually use!
This app is a super tool for language learners! Its voice translation is accurate and the ability to share or copy voice conversations makes this app an ideal choice for anyone who consults with or shares material with other learners.
The app has a phrasebook that features commonly used phrases. It also allows users to build a customized phrasebook filled with words and phrases based on individual preferences.
This app can provide translations in more than 40 languages, including multiple dialects of Arabic and Chinese.
Plus, the real-time translation that you receive as you speak into your iPhone makes using iTranslate Voice super simple and fast.
This point-and-translate app works with text or photos to translate documents from one language into another. It works with street signs, too!
If you struggle to read foreign-language restaurant menus, instructions, transportation guides or nearly anything else, this app is going to make your life a whole lot easier!
The app is capable of translating more than 100 languages and can easily detect photos and images in a wide range of formats.
I have this app on my iPhone and can attest that it works great when I’m traveling. It has saved me from getting lost in a city where I couldn’t read the road signs, so this one is a must-have in my book.
SayHi Translate facilitates communication in a straightforward format that makes it possible for learners with little (or no!) language skills to share ideas in over 50 languages and dialects!
Users can either pull up the keyboard to write text to be translated or use the microphone to access the voice translation option.
One of the best features of this app is that it shows conversation in both languages. That makes it a snap for users to compile personalized phrase and vocabulary lists.
Also, comparing sentence structure between two languages couldn’t be clearer! This is an ideal method for grabbing some grammar basics by seeing them put into use.
TextGrabber makes translating long passages of text a breeze.
Users point their iPhones at text and it’s scanned and instantly translated. If the iPhone is connected to the internet, this is available in more than 100 languages. Offline, it translates into 10 languages.
There is also a text-to-speech option that allows for spoken text to be translated. Additionally, the material translated can be quickly shared with other devices as well as apps that are installed on your phone.
This is a great option for anyone who does a lot of reading or who is in an employment situation where there are important foreign documents that must be completely understood!
Microsoft Translator is a workhorse app that works both online and without internet access.
It translates voice, text, photos and screenshots.
A plus is the option to download languages for offline translation and study purposes. This is great for anyone who will be traveling to a spot with sketchy internet service or for learners intent on getting some extra vocabulary work in!
Translate phrases and listen to them to perfect pronunciation skills. Save the most frequently translated phrases so they can be accessed for later use. Or, use the phrasebooks to pick up conversational tidbits!
All in all, this is a solid app with lots of options.
This app goes one step further than a lot of other translation apps for iPhones.
In addition to offering text translation, it provides transliteration, which helps users read non-Latin script translations. Essentially, transliteration spells the characters in Latin script. This can also assist with pronunciation.
Users can hear translations—a super way to hone pronunciation skills!—and can even pair a language with a target country so dialects are accurately represented.
With 90 languages available for translation on this app, it has a wide audience! Even exotic languages less frequently available on most apps—like Cebuano, Mongolian or Maori, to name a few—can be found here.
Let’s admit it: No one leaves home without their phone. And if you’ve got an iPhone with one or two translation apps downloaded onto it, you’ll never leave home without your target language at your fingertips!
If you’re traveling, explore with confidence.
If you’re hoping to power up your language skills, incorporate some extra study time into your program by using one of these apps. Use every spare moment, including coffee breaks!
And if you’re working hard to communicate in a foreign language, these apps have you covered.
You’ll never be lost for a word, phrase or translation again!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.