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October 4, 2015

5 apps to translate your way around the world

Learn all about Google Translate, iTranslate, Waygo and more.

By Alexander Sword

The days of poring over foreign dictionaries and phrasebooks, or compensating for a lack of language knowledge by speaking more loudly and making increasingly frantic hand signals, are over. Here are five apps that will do the tough work of translating for you.

1. Google Translate

Google’s translation software is available through the search engine and can be enabled automatically through Chrome, so most will already be familiar with it to some extent. The app provides a more intuitive experience for mobile.

As well as being able to type in words, you can draw symbols and accents and speak into the device. In addition, you can take photos of text and let Google identify it for you.

2. iTranslate

The stripped down interface will appeal to Apple fans; there is one menu where you can choose from over 90 languages. Translations can be shared in text messages, emails or on Facebook.

The app is able to read translations aloud if you are unsure of pronunciations, and an intelligent interface is able to work out what you are trying to type if the spelling is incorrect.

Another good feature of iTranslate is that it is available natively on Apple Watch, meaning that in a foreign country you don’t always need to have your phone to hand.

3. Waygo

Waygo is perfect for people travelling to Asia regularly who are unfamiliar with the alphabet. The app uses the smartphone camera to provide instant visual translation of Japanese, Chinese and Korean text.

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Waygo is available for both Apple and Android and usefully does not require an internet connection to translate.

4. Skype

A preview of Skype Translator was first rolled out in December 2014, allowing people to make voice calls and have them translated into other languages in near real time.

As of October 2015 there is no need to download the dedicated app; the translation service is now built into Skype and can be activated by pressing a button in the corner of the screen.

Skype is available on iOS and Android.

5. iStone Travel Translation

This iOS application is more like a phrasebook than the other apps, providing ready access to a range of useful everyday sayings in several languages including Chinese, Japanese, Russian, French, German, Spanish and Arabic.

You can add new phrases to your collection and native pronunciation is provided.

Internet is not required, meaning that you won’t have to rack up expensive roaming bills to talk like a local.

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