Whether you're traveling to new and interesting places or trying to talk to new and interesting people at home, thanks to the iPhone, language is no longer an absolute barrier to communication. While we don't have Star Trek's universal translator - yet! - we do have plenty of apps on the App Store that can help with translation. We've gone through, tested them out, and figured out which are the absolute best iPhone apps for translation needs. These are the ones I think currently deserve your attention...
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iTranslate Voice currently supports 42 languages for both translation and dictionary services. Just speak the phrase or word you want to translate and iTranslate Voice speaks the target language. If you are misunderstood, you can tap the pencil to correct iTranslate Voice. AirTranslate lets you pair with someone else wirelessly who also has iTranslate Voice installed. You can both speak your native languages and let iTranslate Voice take care of the rest.
If you need to break down a language barrier quickly and efficiently, look no further than iTranslate Voice.
- $1.99 - Download Now
Google Translate is a free solution that lets you translate 80 languages. You can type, speak, or write your query and Google Translate will respond in the target language. There is also a favorites section within Google Translate that lets you save common phrases you may have to remember which is great for travel to countries where you aren't familiar with the language. Typing in a single word also results in dictionary results.
If you need to translate handwritten languages such as Chinese or Japanese, Google Translate is one of the best options.
- Free - Download Now
iTranslate is by the same developer of iTranslate Voice but supports over 80 languages in this particular version. By default you get can translate via text input but you can add voice recognition, remove ads, and get even more features for an additional in-app purchase. Like Google Translate, iTranslate also supports character input for languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Latin. However, it takes it one step further with Romanization and can turn symbols into written words of that language quickly and easily. The text prediction feature also helps you type quicker and more efficiently by guessing what you're trying to say beforehand.
For advanced character recognition and faster text input, iTranslate is one of the best.
- Free - Download Now
iVoice Translator Pro
iVoice supports translation in over 30 languages and works as a two-sided translation app. Choose your native language and the target language and then speak what you'd like to translate. iVoice then audibly translates it for you to the target language. The person you are then communicating with can then speak back and let iVoice dictate their response in your own language. While other apps listed above can do this as well, the way iVoice lays out conversations in more human and conversation like, which makes it easier for both parties to use and understand.
For a more conversation like translation option, check out iVoice Translator Pro.
- $0.99 - Download Now
Pixter Scanner OCR
Pixter isn't a dedicated translation app but it can definitely be treated as one. Instead of translating on-demand text, Pixter translates printed text through images. Just snap a photo of a book or a sign you'd like to translate and let Pixter handle the rest. It does this through optical character recognition. Just choose the source language and then output language and you're good to go. Pixter currently supports translation in over 32 languages.
For translating printed text to your own language, you want Pixter.
- $2.99 - Download Now
Your favorite translation apps for iPhone?
Do you use translation apps on your iPhone regularly? If so, what are your current favorites and why do you prefer them over other options? Be sure to let me know in the comments!
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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.