Whether you are actually trying to learn a new language, or you just need some instant traveling assistance, your phone is always your best buddy. These great apps can help you along the way to avoid being lost in translation.
#1 Google Translate
We are all familiar with this one, and boy do we complain about all the funny outcomes when it doesn´t translate right. But are you aware of all the possibilities of the Google Translate app. For example, as of July 2016, Google Translate supports 103 languages at various levels and serves over 200 million people daily.
And because Google is such a so-called ´Big Fish´, in 2015 they purchased and incorporated another translation app called ‘Word Lens´ into Google Translate. According to Wikipedia
“Word Lens was an augmented reality translation application from Quest Visual. Word Lens used the built-in cameras on smartphones and similar devices to quickly scan and identify foreign text (such as that found in a sign or a menu), and then translate and display the words in another language on the device’s display. The words were displayed in the original context on the original background, and the translation was performed in real-time without connection to the internet. For example, using the viewfinder of a camera to show a shop sign on a smartphone’s display would result in a real-time image of the shop sign being displayed, but the words shown on the sign would be the translated words instead of the original foreign words.”
If you want something better than Google Translate, you will probably have to lay down a couple of bucks. For your day to day translation, it might not be necessary, but if you want to translate some more delicate information, this may be the thing for you.
Here is an example.
The nice thing is that you can select the subject and the tone of the text. This way, you won´t send an oddly friendly text to your boss, or a formal letter to your lover.
Your first order, up to 150 words, is for free. After that, you will have to pay. Depending on the situation, this might be worth it though.
A couple of minutes later, you will get an email with your translation 🙂
A similar application is Gengo, which again for a small price let´s you translate a text while also selecting a style or tone. Although it is a bit more pricy than the before mentioned ‘UnBabel´, this one will go to an actual human being, that knows the nuances of the languages and might give you a translation that is a little smoother.
FUN WORD APPS
Because sometimes you just need to know the important stuff.
“Swearport lets you become a global swearing master. Simply choose the language you want, click on the swear of your choice, and Swearport will play a high-quality audio recording of a native speaker saying your chosen swear! You can also try your hand at the random function where you shake your Android device and Swearport will throw out a random swear.But wait, don’t think it stops there! Each swear has detailed information about its swear pronunciation, swear meaning, swear English equivalent, swear usage, and swear intensity rating out of five. Swearport dives deeper into the art of international swearing than any other swearing application with by far the largest library of swears and accompanying recordings.Here is a complete list of languages, each of which have recordings of a native speaker”
LANGUAGE LEARNING APPS
My personal favorite. Not only because of the way it works, but mostly because of the wide variety of small and unknown languages. It´s like a candy store for those who enjoy learning languages.
According to Wikipedia
“Memrise is an online learning tool with courses created by its community. Its courses are mainly used to teach languages, but are also used for other academic and nonacademic subjects (such as trivia, video game trivia, and pop cultural). Memrise uses flashcardsaugmented with mnemonics (known within the service as “mems”)—partly gathered through crowdsourcing—and the spacing effect to boost the speed and ease of learning.”
It basically makes you repeat the word until you know it, but it almost feels like a game. You can play this anywhere (I usually play it when I am on the train or in the bus).
Another famous app for language learning. It probably works among the same ideas as Memrise, only it has fewer languages, but has a better worked out program for these offered languages.
“Babbel is an online language learning software and e-learning platform available in various languages since January 2008. Fourteen languages are currently offered: Dutch, Danish, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese,Russian, Swedish, Spanish and Turkish. According to babbel.com, it has over 20,000,000 users from more than 190 countries.”
The nice thing about Babbel is that they have a website where they post things about language learning, like a post for Brazilians learning English on how to improve their pronunciation, or a post on why learning a language on a cell phone can actually make a difference.
Same story with Duolingo, and this one is already quite popular aswell.
“Duolingo /ˌdjuːoʊˈlɪŋɡoʊ/ is a free language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. Duolingo offers all its language courses free of charge. As of April 2016, the language-learning website and app offer 59 different language courses across 23 languages; with 23 additional courses in development. The app is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 and 10 platforms with over 120 million registered users across the world.“
It only offers a select number of languages, but they are adding to the variety of origin language, so instead of going English -> French, you could now Italian -> French, or French -> German, or German -> Spanish.
It also gives you a progress report and tells you your fluency in a language in percentage (however accurate that it, it does feels great though).