Communicate More Easily With These Translation Apps

September 7th, 2012

Your head is sure to explode if you must slog through one more week's worth of constantly switching DFW airport traffic "scenery".  Heading overseas for the family vacation of a lifetime sounds like just the right cure for traffic induced exploding-head! Or maybe you need to travel to a foreign country for business. Problem is, you don't speak the language.

There's hope, though, and you can get it from your smartphone. Tech companies today offer a wide range of translation apps for tourists and business professionals who are traveling the globe.

Amy Burke, writing for the American Express OPEN Forum, recently highlighted some of the best of these apps. Here's what she recommends for travelers who need to surmount those language barriers.

Burke recommends this app, which charges users $4.99 for every language they need to speak, for its ease of use. The app, available on both iPhone and Android devices, allows users to speak into their smartphones or tablets in their native language. It then provides a quick translation into a specific language via text and voice.

Jibbigo comes with more than 40,000 words in its vocabulary. It also doesn't require a network connection. This can be important to travelers in remote locations.

Dean Foster's Culture Guides
These guides are a bit more advanced than Jibbigo. As Burke writes, the guides are available for 12 countries so far. The apps provide users with an overview of these countries, maps, weather reports, and currency exchange rates. Of course, it also provides solid translation services.

Word Lens
Here's an interesting app that relies on your smartphone's camera to translate. With this app, instead of typing in words or phrases, you can snap a photo of a street sign, menu, or brochure, and Word Lens will translate the writing for you.

The app is a bit limited so far; Burke writes that it only includes Spanish, French, and Italian to English — and vice versa — so far.

Still, it's a neat idea. The app is free, but each language will cost you $4.99.

These apps represent just a small sampling of translation tools available to travelers today. If you make that jaunt overseas, be sure to search your app marketplace for other tools. You might just find the perfect app to get you over the language bump.



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