“Buongiorno,” says the man in the shop.
You’re set to buy some biscotti (cookies) before heading out for your day of exploring Venice.
You’ve been dreaming of this vacation for a long time, saving up the money for the plane ticket and studying as much Italian as possible. You’ve been reading Italian blogs and listening to Italian podcasts, and your iPod is loaded with awesome Italian music and an Italian movie or two.
But wait, the shop owner is talking to you again. He’s asking you a question. He repeats himself, but you just can’t figure out what he’s saying.
It looks like you, my friend, could use an Italian translator app!
The Italian Translator App: A Language Learner’s Savior
Have you ever found yourself wanting to say something but not knowing which Italian words to use? We’ve all been there, and even though the biscotti situation I presented above is completely fictional, it’s not an uncommon one.
While there’s no replacement for actually learning the Italian language, whether in a course or in a self-study program, translator apps can be an indispensable tool throughout your learning.
Translator apps can be used in a travel situation or alongside you as you study. They can be very useful as you trudge through Italian course materials and as you tune into Italian media. It’s a fast-paced Italian world, and sometimes all you need is a quick English translation to get you up to speed.
Check out the top six Italian translator apps to get the conversation flowing—and fast!
The 6 Best Italian Translator Apps for Your Smartphone
Available from Google Play, the Italian English Translator app kicks off our list.
For starters, this app has a nice, clean interface, and this makes for an exceptionally easy app to use for quick Italian translation needs.
One of the app’s main features is the Italian-English dictionary. You can search for virtually any word and have it translated into either language at the tap of the screen. What’s better is that this dictionary is available offline, so even when you’re wandering Italian cities and you’re trying to figure out how to get to your next hotel or train, you can pop open the dictionary and use it.
Besides the dictionary, this app also offers many goodies for Italian language learners. First of all, Italian English Translator supports voice recognition so you can simply say what you’ve heard in Italian and get an instant translation. Better yet, you can speak in English and the app will translate into Italian as well as speak Italian back to you.
Want even more goodies? This app includes a Word of the Day feature so learners can increase their vocabulary in small, manageable lessons. And with in-app sentence correction, you can see mistakes you’ve made in Italian and know how to improve your Italian usage next time.
The Italian English Dictionary app is available for Apple products, and it’s about as extensive as language translation apps get.
This Ascendo app has a dictionary with over 278,000 entries—a pretty high number, even compared to the competition. This means that, if there’s ever a situation where you need to translate something into either language, this app will definitely be able to help you out.
In addition to translations, the Italian English Dictionary app offers audio files. After looking up a word in the app, learners can hear how the Italian word is supposed to be pronounced. This is an invaluable tool not only during spontaneous conversation but also while studying the Italian language.
Furthermore, this app offers essential Italian phrases sorted into 18 categories. This is a great companion while studying and practicing Italian because it offers you revisions on the go and gives you plenty of Italian phrases organized in such a way that they’re easily accessible.
Even better, the Italian English Dictionary has a verb conjugator to help you use Italian verbs in any tense!
Also available for Apple devices is the Translator with Speech app.
First and foremost, it’s a straightforward translation app where you can type in Italian or English words, phrases and sentences to get an instant translation.
You can also play Italian audio files, which are awesome to help you hear how the words are supposed to be pronounced. This audio component also extends to audio recognition, meaning that you can speak Italian or English into the app to get your translation that way.
What’s unique with the Translator with Speech app is that it incorporates many resources into one single app. Instead of depending solely on one translator, Translator with Speech streamlines multiple online Italian dictionaries to give learners accurate translations. This means that learners are literally getting the best Italian translations available on the Web without having to search tirelessly to discover them.
The Translator with Speech also has its translations available offline for when learners are without an Internet connection. Furthermore, the app remembers the previous translations that you’ve searched. It’s a nice bonus that you don’t have to type any word or phrase over and over again if you’ve already searched for it before.
If you didn’t already guess, iTranslate is available for Apple products (so you can get it on your iPod or iPad—or anything else that starts with an “i”).
While it’s particularly great for Italian learners, this app also offers in-depth translations for 90 other languages. While this might seem like a lot, this is great for any learners who don’t speak English as their native language, as you can translate between Italian and a language you feel more comfortable with. And if you’re studying Italian plus another language, you can now work on both at the same time.
Translations can be done on the app by typing or speaking, thanks to the voice recognition feature. Like a few others, this app is available offline for when learners don’t have Internet access and need a translation in a pinch.
Furthermore, in addition to straightforward translations, this app offers synonyms for when learners are looking to be extra precise and it offers Italian verb conjugations to help learners use verbs in the correct tense.
Available from the Google Play Store, the Italian Translator app shines in its simplicity.
This app, unlike some others on our list, is exclusive to the Italian language. What does that mean? Well, it means that the Italian language is given its own space—center stage, so to speak. Most times, less is more, am I right?
While the Internet is needed for all features, the Italian Translator app offers in-depth word and sentence translations to and from the Italian language.
What’s more, the app allows learners to copy and paste translations so that learners can use them right away in emails or documents. Better yet, you can take translations and use them in text messages on your phone for instant communication.
The Italian Translator also allows for each translation to have an audio component. Each translation is spoken in clear Italian and the app has the ability to translate from Italian with its speech recognition capabilities.
Available in the Google Play Store and for Apple products, WordReference is an online dictionary turned app that’s the number one stop for language learners.
WordReference is available in quite a few languages, but that doesn’t mean its Italian translation abilities are lacking. This app offers a written pronunciation guide for saying the Italian translation itself. It more than makes up for its lack of audio in its extensive dictionary capabilities.
WordReference’s dictionary is so in-depth that it gives multiples definitions as well as idiomatic and phrasal meanings to each translated Italian and English word. This means that learners not only get literal translations for Italian words but figurative meanings as well.
This app also has a very in-depth verb conjugation component, and it virtually conjugates every single Italian verb into every single verb tense in Italian. In short, verb conjugation capabilities don’t get much more intricate than WordReference.
As if the dictionary and verb conjugator weren’t enough, each dictionary entry on WordReference links to various threads on the WordReference forums to help learners when they need more information than the app provides.
So, there you have it! Get back into that shop, Italian learner.
You’ve got some biscotti to buy!
Michael Cristiano is a Canadian writer and language enthusiast. His latest ramblings on foreign languages and language learning can be found on his YouTube channel, The Polyglot Files.
Oh, and One More Thing…
Looking for an app that can add even more to your Italian learning?
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons, as you can see here:
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles. Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you’ve watched a video, you can use FluentU’s quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’ve learned to recommend videos and ask you questions based on what you already know. Plus, it’ll tell you exactly when it’s time for review. Now that’s a 100% personalized experience!
The best part? You can try FluentU for free with a 15-day trial.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.