The 11 Best Translation Apps for Travelers and Language Learners in 2023
Learning a new language, or traveling with minimal knowledge of the local language, can be a challenge.
But with the right resources, you can transform that challenge into an adventure.
I traveled all through South America last year and don’t speak any Spanish, so I relied on apps the entire time to learn new phrases and get around with ease.
Here are the 11 translation apps that I found to be the best and the most useful, which you can use for language learning, travels or any other translation needs!
- 1. Best Overall: Google Translate
- 2. Best for Accuracy: DeepL Translate
- 3. Best for Business: Microsoft Translator
- 4. Best for Extra Features: iTranslate
- 5. Best for Live Conversations: SayHi
- 6. Best for Messaging: Language Translator
- 7. Best for FaceTime Calls: Translate Now
- 8. Best for Phrases: Travel Phrasebook
- 9. Best for Offline Use: Translator with Speech
- 10. Best for Simplicity: Voice Translator Free
- 11. Best for Health Topics: Medical Spanish
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1. Best Overall: Google Translate
Summary: Tried and true, Google Translate has a wide range of languages and most features available, such as text, voice and scanned translation options.
iOS | Android
Google is probably familiar to all. I mean, really, who doesn’t Google? It’s just as easy to translate as it is to search, which definitely makes this app confusion-free.
Also, it has an amazing feature that allows a person to take photos of signs and have the text translated instantly. Think about it: point, shoot and translate!
Additionally, about half of the languages can be used with no internet service at all. Heading deep into a jungle or way off the beaten path? Google Translate has you covered!
There are also a couple of features you might be less aware of. You can download common phrases in the event that you travel to places with sketchy internet service. You can also draw characters on your screen to search for words instead of typing them.
This app is free in over 130 languages and is compatible with nearly any device.
2. Best for Accuracy: DeepL Translate
Summary: DeepL Translate uses advanced technology to provide the most accurate translations and has the option to translate entire files.
iOS | Android
DeepL Translate is another translator that has become big over the years. It’s not available for as many languages as many others on this list, at just 29 languages.
But it uses more advanced AI technology than many of the apps out there, so it’s one of the most accurate options you can get!
This is incredibly useful not only for travel and everyday life, but also for those tricky official documents or files you might come across. In the pro version, you can upload entire documents and DeepL will translate them for you.
The features on the free app are somewhat limited and the pro versions are not exactly cheap, but might be worth it depending on your needs. You can give it a try with a free trial and then upgrade for $8.74+ per month.
3. Best for Business: Microsoft Translator
Summary: Microsoft Translator provides simultaneous translations across multiple languages and captions for both online and live conversations.
iOS | Android
Did you know that Microsoft has a translator as well? It’s one of the most versatile translators with features that cover personal, business and educational use for 70 languages.
One of its distinguishing features is translating live conversations across multiple devices and languages, for up to 100 people! You have to link devices for this and it’s incredibly useful for business calls.
It also can generate live captions for presentations, calls and conversations, so that those who are deaf, hard of hearing or non-native-speakers can follow along with ease.
You can download languages for offline use and even select alternate translations between various levels of formality so you can express yourself in the best way.
There are upgrade options for professional and company-wide use, but for the regular user, the best thing is that the app is free!
4. Best for Extra Features: iTranslate
Summary: iTranslate is a super versatile translator app that also has a phrasebook, dictionary, thesaurus, verb conjugator and an offline option.
iOS | Android
iTranslate is a free app that works with over 100 languages.
This app can translate dictation, which is a definite plus. No need to tap the screen when you can speak and get your answer.
A super useful feature is also the possibility to switch between different dialects. You can even switch between male and female voices for the audio playback.
There’s also a dictionary and thesaurus for all of the languages plus a verb conjugator to help you out with those tricky verb changes! The iOS version also has a phrasebook with over 250 phrases and flashcards.
There are in-app purchases available, but since individual needs vary, not everyone will need them.
If you’d like to upgrade to get extra features, like the offline option, you can get the pro version for $5.99 per month on iOS and for $2.99+ on Android.
5. Best for Live Conversations: SayHi
Summary: SayHi is a simply designed app that simultaneously translates an in-person conversation, which is perfect for traveling.
iOS | Android
SayHi is a relatively simple app, but one that you don’t want to be without if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language.
It includes 100 languages, with dialect support for many of them. It’s one of the best apps for in-person conversation and it provides simultaneous, direct translation as you’re speaking.
That means you don’t have to manually switch which language is being spoken as the app will automatically recognize and switch between the two.
A feature that could prove very useful is that it can slow down audio playback, thereby helping eliminate pronunciation errors—and misunderstandings! The translation voices can also be changed to either male or female.
SayHi is proud of the fact that it’s a completely free app without ads or premium features. Now that’s a good deal!
6. Best for Messaging: Language Translator
Summary: Language Translator provides translation for in-person conversations and for texts in messaging apps. There’s also a phrasebook and offline function.
Language Translator covers over 100 languages and is very highly rated. It’s a sensational app for on-the-go tourists, students and language learners.
Like SayHi, it instantly translates voice or text from one language to another, offering real-time translation for any conversation. Plus you can use the app offline, which is perfect if you end up in a place without internet!
Another great feature is that you can pair it with messaging apps and it will translate your outgoing and incoming texts. There’s also a phrasebook, confirming that if you need an all-in-one app for travel it should be this one.
Because of its numerous features, Language Translator is free for only the first three days and then it’s $9.99 a month, but it’s definitely worth it.
7. Best for FaceTime Calls: Translate Now
Summary: Translate Now is an app that has most features you need, plus the option to translate even your FaceTime calls.
Translate Now is an app that covers over 110 languages. It’s definitely one of the best translation apps to use in Asia. It covers several Asian languages and dialects, including Hmong Daw.
This app works with both voice and text translation, so you can either speak or write to get instant translations. You can also translate your FaceTime calls while using the Apple SharePlay feature!
I’ve personally used this app to power up my pronunciation skills. It translates from one language to another and reads back the translation—which is exactly what I needed to help bring my fluency up to the next level. I thoroughly recommend this one!
There’s a free version and pro version. With the pro version, you have access to more features and offline use as well, for $9.99 a month.
8. Best for Phrases: Travel Phrasebook
Summary: Another great one for travel, Travel Phrasebook has an abundance of useful phrases and offline option which will come in handy while on the go.
iOS | Android
The Travel Phrasebook app is another must-have resource for travelers.
There are 19 popular languages featured so it’s highly probable that the one you’re learning is available! No internet connection is necessary to use this app so it’s ideal for taking to off-the-grid locations.
It covers the fundamental words and phrases that travelers need to often access in a hurry. The great thing about this app is that everything basic is very clearly marked—pictures point the way to greetings, numbers, eating and more.
Along with an audio playback option for every phrase, there’s also the option to record your voice so learners can hear themselves speak—and improve their pronunciation and speaking skills by listening and repeating.
I used this app a lot while traveling and had no issues understanding and being understood in countries where I had zero language skills. It’s a solid app for travelers and learners alike to use!
9. Best for Offline Use: Translator with Speech
Summary: Translator with Speech is a useful app that stores your previous searches which are then available offline as well.
iOS | Android
Another popular app that’s been around for a while is Translator with Speech.
It covers around 90 languages, including some that are not widely represented. Chichewa, Azerbaijani, Croatian, Swahili, Telugu, Romanian and many more can be translated using this resource.
Additionally, the pronunciation of translated words and phrases is available so learners never need to worry that they might not be pronouncing targeted vocabulary correctly.
A bonus feature of this app is that it stores earlier translations. Access those translations with the audio playback even without internet access, so off-the-grid adventures can be successfully translated.
This app supports translating non-Latin characters, which is a plus for learners whose target language has a unique alphabet.
The app is free, but in-app purchases cost around $0.99 per language for both iOS and Android.
10. Best for Simplicity: Voice Translator Free
Summary: Voice Translator Free is a simple, uncomplicated app for those who want an effective and no-frills translator.
Voice Translator Free has over a million downloads! It has a simple interface, but lots to offer for those who just want an app that gets the job done.
This app offers more than 50 languages. It can translate from speech to text as well as from text to speech, so it’s very versatile.
It’s a no-frills, get-the-job-done app, a workhorse to deliver what’s needed right on the spot! A lot of the reviews praise it for its simplicity and effectiveness, especially those who might get flustered by too many features.
It’s available for free, with in-app purchases ranging from $0.99 to $9.99.
11. Best for Health Topics: Medical Spanish
Summary: Medical Spanish is a unique translation app that’ll help not only medical professionals but also travelers who find themselves unwell in Spanish-speaking locations.
A Spanish medical phrasebook written by a physician, this app was made for medical professionals, but anyone can use it!
There are over 6,000 entries for users that cover every part of the human body. Whatever the medical issue or emergency, there’s likely to be a category for it.
The app also provides basic Spanish translations of common words and phrases. It touches on fundamental vocabulary, directions, common expressions, verb conjugations, medicinal plants and more. There’s information about prescriptions, nursing services and even more advanced topics.
The app reads the phrases to users so there’s no worry that there might be miscommunication due to poor pronunciation. An added bonus? It’s a solid resource even when there’s no internet available!
It costs $5.99 in the Apple app store.
If you’d like to brush up on your language skills in other ways, you can also try FluentU, a language learning program that uses authentic content such as movie trailers, commercials, movie clips and more.
You get to see how the language is used in context by actual native speakers. Plus there are features such as interactive subtitles and personalized quizzes, so you can remember all that you’ve learned.
There are also iOS and Android apps for FluentU, so you can you add them to your collection of translator apps.
We’re all different, and our approaches to learning are as varied as we are, so it makes sense that even when it comes to translation apps, there won’t be a one-size-fits-all answer.
But if you choose one of the apps in this list, you’ve got any translation snafu solved! Learning, travel or business—you’re covered.