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12 Best Translation Apps for Understanding on the Fly (2024 Edition]

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 12 translation apps that I found to be the best and the most useful, which you can use for language learning, travel or any other translation needs! 

Contents

12 Best Translator Apps for Language Learners and Travelers

1. Best Overall: Google Translate

Available for: iOS | Android

Price: Free

Summary: Tried and true, Google Translate has a wide range of languages and most features available, such as text, voice and scanned translation options. 

This app translates over 130 languages and is compatible with nearly any device. It has an amazing feature that allows a person to take photos of signs and have the text translated instantly

Additionally, quite a few of the languages can be used with no internet service at all. You can download language packs in the event that you travel to places with sketchy internet service. 

There are also a couple of features you might be less aware of. You can write characters on your screen to search for words instead of typing them. It also has a record of your searches dating back several months.

2. Best for iPhone Users: Apple Translate Apple Translate icon

Available for: iOS 

Price: Free

Summary: Apple Translate is a robust language translation app that seamlessly integrates with iOS devices. 

This app supports communication in 18 widely used languages. You can look up individual words of a completed translation through the dictionary function and check alternative meanings.

Beyond basic translations, Apple Translate offers a conversation mode for real-time dialogues and a handy offline mode for all its languages.

Its intuitive interface and fluid functionality make it an indispensable companion for those navigating multilingual scenarios on their Apple devices.

3. Best for Accuracy: DeepL Translatebest-translators-deep

Available for: iOS | Android

Price: Free for limited translations; premium option starting at $8.74 per month billed annually

Summary: DeepL Translate uses advanced AI technology to provide the most accurate translations and has the option to translate entire files. 

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! It also boasts heightened data security for its users.

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. 

4. Best for Business: Microsoft Translatorbest-translator-apps-microsoft-translator

Available for: iOS | Android

Price: Free for private use; paid versions for businesses and schools

Summary: Microsoft Translator provides simultaneous translations across multiple languages and captions for both online and in-person conversations. 

This translator is one of the most versatile with features that cover personal, business and educational use for over 70 languages. You can download languages for offline use and select alternate translations between various levels of formality.

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 those who are non-native-speakers can follow along with ease. 

5. Best for Extra Features: iTranslate

Available for: iOS | Android

Price: Free seven-day trial then pro version for $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year

Summary: iTranslate is a super versatile translator app that has a phrasebook, dictionary, thesaurus, verb conjugator and an offline option. 

iTranslate is an app that works with over 100 languages. Like many other apps, this one can translate dictation, which is a definite plus. No need to tap the screen when you can speak and get your answer. 

Among the free features is 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.

The pro version offers features such as an offline mode for 40 languages, a phrasebook with hundreds of sentences divided by topic, and a verb conjugator to help you out with those tricky verb changes.

6. Best for Live Conversations: SayHi best translation apps

Available for: iOS | Android

Price: Free

Summary: SayHi is a simply designed app that simultaneously translates an in-person conversation, which is perfect for traveling.

SayHi is a relatively simple app, but 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 select the two languages of the speakers, but then don’t have to manually switch which language is being spoken. The app will automatically recognize the language and switch between the two. It always requires an internet connection to do this.

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. 

7. Best for Messaging: Language Translatorbest translation apps - language translator by brain craft

Available for: iOS

Price: Free three-day trial then $9.99 a month

Summary: Language Translator provides translations for in-person conversations and texts in messaging apps. 

Language Translator covers over 100 languages and is very highly rated. It also has a phrasebook and offline function. 

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 you can use offline.

8. Best for FaceTime Calls: Translate Nowbest translation apps - Translate Now by Wzp Solutions Lda

Available for: iOS

Price: Free version; pro version for $9.99 per month

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. 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. 

9. Best Designed: Speak & Translate Speak & Translate app icon

Available for: iOS 

Price: Free; premium version without ads is $4.99 per month or $69.99 per year

Summary: One of the best-designed apps on this list, Speak & Translate offers a comfortable and sleek translating experience. 

Speak & Translate brings convenient language translation to your fingertips. With support for over 100 languages, it covers a vast linguistic landscape.

It stands out with its user-friendly design and the option to change the color settings. It also includes features like voice recognition, iCloud integration, and the possibility to change the playback speed and gender of the voice.

Whether you’re traveling, learning a new language, or bridging language barriers in business, Speak & Translate is a great app to have.

10. Best for Phrases: Travel Phrasebook best translation apps

Available for: iOS | Android

Price: Free; $4.99 for the full version

Summary: Another great one for travel, Travel Phrasebook has an abundance of useful phrases and offline options that will come in handy while on the go.

The Travel Phrasebook app has 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 often need to 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.

11. Best for East Asian Languages: Naver Papago Papago Translator logo

Available for: iOS | Android

Price: Free

Summary: Developed by Korean company Naver and equipped with advanced AI technology, Papago delivers accurate translations for East Asian languages.

Naver Papago supports 13 languages and caters to a diverse user base, particularly in Asia. As a result, it’s a great option for those who need accurate Korean, Japanese and Chinese translations. 

It goes beyond text translation, offering features like image and voice translation. It’s great for various scenarios, from everyday conversations to translating complex study documents. 

Papago also has a dictionary function that allows it to go beyond the initial translation. This way you can check for additional translations and meanings.

12. Best for Offline Use: Translator with Speech best translation apps

Available for: iOS | Android

Summary: Translator with Speech is a useful app that stores your previous searches which are then available offline as well.  

This app covers around 90 languages. Chichewa, Azerbaijani, Croatian, Swahili, Telugu, Romanian and many more can be translated using this resource.

A bonus feature of this app is that it stores earlier translations. Access those translations with 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.

Common FAQs About Translation Apps

Which Is the Best Translation App?

Overall, Google Translate remains the best for most general needs. That said, the best app for you very much depends on your goals, needs and budget.

For example, do you need the app for traveling, your studies or business? Make sure you check the features closely and make a decision accordingly.

Some apps are more popular within certain countries and regions, so you can also look into the best app depending on the languages you’ll be using it for or the places you’ll be traveling to. 

Which Translation Apps Are Free?

Google Translate, Apple Translate, Microsoft Translator, SayHi and Naver Papago are free in their complete and ad-free versions. You’ll have access to their full functions without paying anything.

Which Translation Apps Are Available for iOS?

Every option on this list is available for iOS.

Which Translation Apps Are Android?

Google Translate, DeepL Translate, Microsoft Translator, iTranslate, SayHi, Travel Phrasebook, Naver Papago and Translator with Speech are available for Android. 

 

If you’d like to brush up on your language skills in other ways, you can also try FluentU, a language learning program.

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.

Happy translating!

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