The 8 Best Offline Translator Apps for Going Off the Grid in 2024
As a team of language learners and travelers, we’ve tried quite a few of the offline translator apps available over the years.
We’ve also built our own language-learning app with offline features, so we know getting this technology right is no small feat.
Skip wading through the app store or aimlessly downloading dozens of apps to try. Read on—we’ve selected and shared our favorite offline translator apps for different needs.
- 1. Best App Overall: Google Translate
- 2. Best App for Apple Users: Apple Translate
- 3. Best App for Professionals: Microsoft Translator
- 4. Best App for Built-in Phrasebook: iTranslate
- 5. Best App for Speed and Accuracy: Translate Now
- 6. Best App for Real-time Communication: Speak & Translate
- 7. Best App for East Asian Languages: Waygo
- 8. Best App for Chinese: Baidu Translate
- And One More Thing...
1. Best App Overall: Google Translate
Available: iOS | Android
Practically everybody knows about Google Translate! Its mobile app is astounding, both online and offline. It’s so ubiquitous that it’s the first and last app most people think of for translating.
With the Google Translate app, you can choose to translate to and from 133 different languages. That’s only with an internet connection, though.
You have to download each language pack individually, and 92 languages are available offline.
Google Translate was one of the first apps to implement the camera mode, which is now available in quite a few apps on the market.
Right now, there’s an active community of multilingual Google users that translates and corrects the most commonly used words and phrases. That extra human attention can really go a long way toward a smooth translation experience.
2. Best App for Apple Users: Apple Translate
This is one of the best apps for iPhone users. While it doesn’t have as many languages as some other apps, compared to some apps it’s relatively new, so there’s only room to grow from here! It’s great for many commonly spoken languages.
In total, Apple Translate provides translation for 17 languages. Apple Translate offers offline translation for all of its languages such as French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and many more. To use them offline, you have to download them and then turn on “On-Device Mode.”
Apple Translate can translate text, text on images and voice. Plus, there is a built-in dictionary function and a way to save your previous translations. You can even review words with multiple meanings or check grammatical variations for languages that have gendered words.
3. Best App for Professionals: Microsoft Translator
Available: iOS | Android
Microsoft Translator is working hard to optimize their translation technology for businesses, including a new feature where people can translate their PowerPoint presentations in real time.
So how do their mobile apps stack up against the competition?
The offline mode supports 70 languages, and 11 of the largest ones come with the more advanced neural network processing algorithm—a fancy way to say that they use AI to improve translation quality.
Other apps let you translate a conversation in real-time, but if two or more users both have Microsoft Translator installed on their phones, it’s a cinch to create a private chat room. From there, each participant can type and receive messages in their preferred language.
4. Best App for Built-in Phrasebook: iTranslate
Available: iOS | Android
There’s nothing like beautiful aesthetics to keep you coming back to an app.
With iTranslate, the process of translating sentences and looking up words is intuitive and seamless, as well as robust enough to go toe-to-toe with industry giants. These features make it many users’ top choice for an offline translator app.
Online, you can translate over 100 different languages, including specialized ones like non-standard Arabic languages and even Canadian French. That list shrinks down to over 40 languages offline, covering a huge proportion of the world’s speakers.
iTranslate is also a great app for traveling. It has a built-in phrasebook feature that covers topics such as “At the Hotel,” “At the Store” and “Help/Medical.” Just tap the topic you want to view the comprehensive list of phrases you might need while traveling. You can read the phrase yourself or tap the microphone icon for the app to read the sentence out loud for you.
Unlike some other apps on this list, iTranslate is a paid app. It offers only a seven-day free trial and then you can choose if you want to pay $49.99 per year or $5.99 per month.
5. Best App for Speed and Accuracy: Translate Now
Translate Now excels in delivering rapid and precise translations, making it a go-to choice for users seeking efficient language conversion on the iOS platform.
This app supports translations for a vast array of languages, exceeding 110 in its online mode. The offline mode, though slightly more limited, still covers quite a few languages, catering to a diverse global audience.
Translate Now prioritizes simplicity and speed. With a user-friendly interface, it allows users to swiftly input text or speech for translation. The app also features an offline phrasebook and a pronunciation guide, aiding users in mastering correct pronunciations.
Translate Now is also a paid app and costs $9.99 per month and $69.99 per year. If you need it for a really short time, there’s also the option for a one-week subscription which is $4.99.
6. Best App for Real-time Communication: Speak & Translate
Speak & Translate stands out as an ideal choice for users engaging in live conversations, offering seamless real-time translation features on iOS.
When online, this app supports 54 languages for voice translation and 117 languages in text mode. When offline, it supports text translation for 10 languages in premium mode. The language selection is designed to cover major global languages, ensuring broad usability.
Speak & Translate shines in conversations, providing instant translation during voice interactions. The app features a split-screen mode, allowing users to view both the original and translated text simultaneously.
It also includes a conversation history log, enabling users to review past translations. To get the premium version, Speak & Translate costs $4.99 per month and $69.99 per year.
7. Best App for East Asian Languages: Waygo
In Chinese, wàiguó means “foreign.”
That’s how the developers came up with the name Waygo. They were working and living in Asia and realized that an offline app would be perfect for travelers trying to navigate the unfamiliar languages around China, Japan and South Korea.
As the developers of Waygo have special connections to East Asia, the app only works for Chinese, Japanese and Korean. More languages are said to be in development.
Waygo was built to be a lightweight offline translator. You can even use it on older phones that don’t have the same processing power or storage space as today’s flagships.
Because a lot of people will be using this app in restaurants, the dictionary databases have a large stock of dish and ingredient names available.
8. Best App for Chinese: Baidu Translate
You may have heard of Baidu once or twice if you’re from North America, but in China, it’s all the rage.
Their translation algorithms have been making leaps and bounds in the past few years, particularly with Chinese as a source language.
The app lets you translate between Chinese and 200 languages. You still have access to translation features offline, as well as a phrasebook that comes with native-speaker recordings.
According to many Chinese-speaking users who leave reviews online, Baidu Translate’s translations for Chinese are much more accurate than Google Translate’s.
One of the coolest features is object translation, which allows you to snap a picture of something in the real world and see the Chinese and English names for it, along with native-speaker recordings.
Right now, object translation is only available when you’re connected to the internet. But in a few years, who knows?
If you want to try and learn a language instead of just translating, translators can still be great tools for learning new words. Then you can start learning how to use words in your own sentences, and eventually, you might be able to talk to people without even needing translations!
One option for increasing your vocabulary is to make flashcards of the words you encounter using your translator. You can use paper flashcards or, if you’re on the go, convenient flashcard apps.
If you want to go beyond just increasing your vocabulary, there are tons of great language-learning apps out there that will help you learn how to form sentences and understand them in context.
For instance, FluentU is an app that teaches you a language as native speakers use it.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Wherever you go in the world, simply making an effort to understand and be understood goes a long way.
Learn from the translations that come out of your phone and your language-learning apps. Do your best to use them as a bridge to actual communication. That’s the key to an excellent journey!
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)