Top translation apps for filling your passport (and your home screen)

A few things hold me back from international travel: money and language barriers. I’ve only been outside of the United States once, and it was on a cheap spring break cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. The pool for the whole boat fit a waterslide and a handful of small children. I spent most of my vacation reading and waiting to go on an excursion. I was 12. 

When I can bust the piggy bank and make it outside of the States, I don’t want language to get in the way of communicating with locals.

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Translation applications are essential to understanding. Even if you have months of Duolingo under your belt, your vocabulary will still be behind native speakers. Get yourself a translation app and suddenly you'll be way more comfortable navigating communication in a foreign land. Read more...

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BEST TRANSLATION APP OVERALL

TripLingo

This app combines multiple tools for international travel while maintaining a translation focus.

Voice translator: Yes Text translator: Yes Photo translator: Yes Phrasebook: With subscription Offline translation: Yes

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BEST TRANSLATION APP FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

Go Translate

Full features require some dough, but options like an integrated keyboard make Go Translate stand out.

Voice translator: Yes Text translator: Yes Photo translator: With subscription Phrasebook: No Offline translation: With subscription

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BEST WITH SUBSCRIPTION

iTranslate

The free version is underwhelming, but extensive features are available for $50 a year.

Voice translator: With subscription Text translator: Yes Photo translator: With subscription Phrasebook: Yes Offline translation: With subscription

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BEST FREE TRANSLATION APP

Microsoft’s Translator App

The Translator App by Microsoft delivers all the essentials without a subscription.

Voice translator: Yes Text translator: Yes Photo translator: Yes Phrasebook: Yes Offline translator: Yes

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BEST TRANSLATION APP FOR APPLE USERS

Translate Now

Augmented reality, Apple Watch compatibility, and an integrated extension are highlights of a feature-dense application.

Voice translator: Yes Text translator: Yes Photo translator: Yes Phrasebook: No Offline translation: Yes

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BEST BACKUP TRANSLATION APP

SayHi

This free app doesn’t have key features like a photo translator or offline capabilities, but it has the best free voice and text translation of the bunch.

Voice translator: Yes Text translator: Yes Photo translator: No Phrasebook: No Offline translation: No

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BEST-DESIGNED TRANSLATION APP

Papago

Take a design straight out of Silicon Valley but make it free. That’s Papago. Just don’t expect less popular languages.

Voice translator: Yes Text translator: Yes Photo translator: Coming soon Phrasebook: Yes Offline translation: Only for Korean, Chinese, and Japanese

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