10 of the Best Translation Apps and Devices for Travelers

One of the greatest challenges in traveling is language barriers. The opposite is true. While it can be a huge benefit to your trip to speak to locals, it can also hinder your experience. If you don’t have an idea of what’s happening, mistakes and misunderstandings are all too frequent.

The technology of translation apps and devices has improved tremendously over the years, and they can be extremely useful when you are overseas. Some have an aim to cover every part of the globe while others target specific regions, languages or needs.

Although many devices need an internet connection for their functions, others can be used offline. This is particularly helpful if you don’t own an international SIM card or other economical way to stay connected internationally.

These are eight best translation apps for Android or iOS, plus a few top-rated devices.

Table of Contents

Google Translate

Google Translateis an indispensable tool that every traveler needs. Half of these include translations of text taken from a photo.

It’s the best offline tool available, supporting many languages (although not all) and the community of volunteers constantly improving the translated results. “Conversation”, which allows travelers to exchange words in both directions, is a great option for travelers.

Google Translate seamlessly integrates with other applications for instant translation. This makes it a great tool that is completely free. Google Translate is an amazing tool but not for every situation.

For example, “Conversation”, the feature that allows you to communicate with others in real life, is a bit cumbersome to use. Furthermore, there are no phrases, educational resources or other tools available to help you learn the language. Google Translate remains the most popular translation app, but other apps are also available.

iOS or Android, free

Microsoft Translator

Microsoft Translator , which is almost as good as Google’s version but has many of these same features, is . The app allows you to translate text, audio, and images, and you can save translations for later reference.

Although Microsoft Translator may be inferior to Google Translate in the translation department, Microsoft Translator shines with its Phrasebook tool. As in the old days, people carried around a small, tattered phrasebook with pages. Microsoft Translator also has many useful phrases.

Some of them are extremely general like “Thanks,” or “How many? These are just a few of many options that you have in multiple categories such as travel, technology, emergency, and dining.

Microsoft Translator can be used with Google Translate and the phrasebook feature alone. While it’s great that you can translate words or phrases when you need them, it’s even better if you’re able to at least learn the basics so you don’t always have to reach for your phone.

iOS or Android, free

Translate and speak

An app that focuses exclusively on translating conversation? Speak & Translate will work for you, even though the premium edition is quite expensive. It’s simple and elegant, unlike the awkward Conversation section of Google Translate.

The app supports voice translations and text translation in 117 languages. Translations are created from a variety of sources, including Google Translate, Microsoft Translate, among others.

You can also access your translation history. This is a great tool for travelers! You can choose to have the text translated as fast as possible, or prefer a male/female voice.

The ad support free version of the software includes all the basic features. It will be enough for many people. With the credit card you can get offline translation in up to ten languages. The limit is not set for daily translations.

Speak & Translate doesn’t suit everyone. But it can be a great tool for people who want a seamless conversational experience.

iOS, $5.99/month / $59.99/year


Speak & Translate is another alternative to Speak & Translate. Like other conversation apps, this app focuses on making conversations between people with different languages easy.

The app is able to support regional language variations. Translate words into the Arabic language spoken in Egypt, Bahrain, and the Mandarin spoken in Taiwan and mainland China. Spanish options are especially robust, covering 18 areas in total.

Again, the voice can be selected to be male or woman, and you can even choose the speed. For language learners, the companion app “SayHi Learn”, includes educational tools to study Spanish, French or Danish.

SayHi’s biggest drawback is the lack of offline access. However, SayHi is an amazing free tool that Android users can use, especially for those who don’t have access to Speak and Translate.

iOS or Android; free

SpanishDict Translator

There are many Spanish language apps on the market, but SpanishDict translates well. The app can translate words and phrases, as well as look up their definitions, or conjugate them for you.

The app can be used as a general education tool and includes an extensive grammar guide. This includes information on topics such as estar and Ser. The app also includes a phrasebook divided into multiple categories. It also has helpful guides for topics like how to talk about Spanish measurements.

The app works as a Swiss Army knife for Spanish-speaking travelers. It’s supported via advertisements. There’s also a Premium account option, though the pricing and features are slightly different between Android & iOS.

Android: You will only pay a few bucks a year to remove any ads, if you wish to support the developers. Although you will have to pay more for an iOS device, the Premium version offers offline quizzes (cheat sheets), and phrasebooks. To test the app before you purchase, you get a free 7 day trial.

iOS & Android: Free or Premium at $2.99/year, $13.99/month, or $59.99/year for iOS.

Arabic Dictionary & Translator

Download Arabic Dictionary (and Translator) if you plan to visit Arabic-speaking countries. The app was designed by EVOLLY. Each part of the app works in conjunction to provide a variety of language tools, including translations between English and Arabic.

The translation aspect of things brings together sources such as Google, Microsoft Yandex Translate, Baidu Translate and others. Users can then review different suggestions to use a given phrase.

Arabic Dictionary allows users to quickly look up words and create flashcards. There are many glossaries as well as supplemental dictionaries that you can choose from, even those for niche topics.

The app provides details on synonyms, synonyms and other related terms. In-app ads are available, but can be removed if the user chooses to go Premium.

iOS, Android, and Premium for free or $12.99


Plco is a language program for Cantonese or Mandarin. Pleco isn’t technically a translator (it’s more like a dictionary), but it’s still a powerful language tool for travelers.

You can use OCR to search for signs, menus, or text on your phone. The app is very accommodating to stroke mistakes. You can think of it like an autocorrect for Chinese characters.

The dictionary pulls information from Oxford, Longman, etc. and provides definitions as well as sample sentences and audio to test pronunciation. You can also use the flashcard conversion feature to convert words from your dictionary into flashcards.

The app provides pronunciation guidance by providing audio recordings of 34,000 Chinese phrases spoken by two native Mandarin speakers. Cantonese is supported by a speech synthesizer. Many add-ons (or Packages) can be purchased that add special dictionaries to your computer, such as document readers and stroke ordering diagrams.

iOS, Android, and add-ons/bundles starting at $4.99 to $59.99


Papago enables you to translate words or phrases from text, sound, or images. The Korean translator allows users to toggle on/off ” Honorifics”, which is an important aspect of Korean grammar.

It can translate K-pop songs or basic conversations, and it even allows you to use it to simply paste in URLs to translate entire web pages. Papago also has a dictionary along with a phrasebook. This provides hundreds more helpful suggestions.

Papago is well-known for its ability to translate Korean. But it also supports Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish and Indonesian as well.

iOS or Android, free

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Google Pixel Buds

To return to devices, the bulky and difficult-to-use translation tools of old are gradually being replaced by simple, elegant tools that make Babel Fish (The Hitchhiker’s Handbook to the Galaxy) seem eerily close to real life.

The latest Google Pixel Buds second edition is the best. These are sleek, wireless earbuds featuring a powerful translation feature. When you insert the buds, simply say “Hey Google. Please help me speak Spanish” or any other language, and Google Translate will open on your phone.

Now, if you touch and hold an Earbud, and say something, the translation will appear in your phone’s other language in almost real-time. You can press and hold an equivalent button in the app to hear the words of the other person speak.

Google Translate has limitations, so you shouldn’t expect deep philosophical discussions using this approach. It works well for simple conversations and phrases, but it is slower and less accurate than simply moving your phone forward and backward each time you speak.

You should note, however, that Buds work only with Android devices. That’s especially true for the translation features. No matter what version of Android your tablet or smartphone is, it won’t work.

WT2 Plus Language Translator

WT2 Plus Language Translator, another in-ear device, doesn’t look nearly as good as the Pixel Buds. But, it has dedicated translation features that aren’t available on Google’s more general-purpose model.

There are three ways to translate a conversation using the device: simul or touch, speaker, and touch. Each person is equipped with one pair of earbuds. The simul mode automatically transduces everything in both directions (for quiet environments), while touch mode requires that the user tap the button to switch modes (for noisier places).

The speaker mode functions in the same manner as with the Pixel Buds. One person speaks through the earbuds and the other listens via the app. The second person hears the translation and presses a button for reply. WT2 Plus is dependent on your phone and the internet to perform the heavy lifting, no matter what mode you are using.

It supports 40 languages online and can recognize 93 accents. While offline, the device is capable of translating from Chinese to six additional languages such as English, Spanish, or Japanese. Under ideal conditions, dual noise-canceling microphones can cut out background noise and improve translation accuracy. They can even reach 95%.

Companion Apps are available both for iOS and Android. They function in the same manner in both.

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