3 Translation Apps to Use When You Travel in a Foreign Country

These handy translation apps transform your phone into a personal pocket translator.

turn your phone into a translation app

Immersing yourself in a foreign country can be difficult when there’s a language barrier. But thanks to 21st-century technology, your mobile device can now be your personal translator when you travel abroad. Many translation apps are free or are available for a one-time fee. Here are some of our favorites and why we love them.


Cost: Free
Availability: iOS and Android platforms
Requires Wi-Fi or international data?: Yes, although you can create a list of favorite words and phrases for use offline.
Why we love it: Google’s free translation app lives up to the company’s reputation for simple, user-friendly interfaces. Google Translate, which works best with Wi-Fi and/or an international data plan, offers voice and text translations as well as a new camera feature, which translates directly from printed text (which is especially handy for street signs and menus).


Cost: Free
Availability: iOS and Android platforms
Requires Wi-Fi or international data?: Yes.
Why we love it: This versatile translation app doesn’t just translate individual words; if a word has multiple meanings, the app also gives sample sentences showing how the word is used in each context. That comes in handy to help avoid those dreaded misunderstandings.


Cost: $2.99
Availability: iOS platform
Requires Wi-Fi or international data?: No. Once downloaded, the app is fully functional offline.
Why we love it: If you’re traveling through a few countries, this handy app can serve as your one-stop language library. Twelve languages, each in a separate dictionary, appear as “books” on a virtual shelf. Use the books to search for words and phrases alphabetically.

Inset photo: iStock
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Marco Ruiz, AAA Travel Counselor, Monterey, Calif.

I love to suggest Italy and Spain because of the culture and the flair of the people–their fashions, language and way of life. They take time to enjoy life's pleasures. When you're there, you feel it, too.

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