Cell Phone Language Translators

These language transation app are great from travelers.  Language barriers can be very frustrating.  One time while my family was in Florence, Italy, we were having pizza at this little restaurant when the waitress came over and said something in Italian. I thought she said “do you want some more” referring to my drink. So I said no.  As it turned out what she really said was “do you like the pizza?”  Fortunately I found out what she had said before we left and was able to assure her I loved the pizza.

There has also been times when I have had to ask a local if they could translate something into English for me.  If I had had one of these translation apps it would have been very convenient and even though they have their issues and can struggle with translating some words especially with literal translations, they still can come in handy.  I am sure over time they will become more accurate.


For ipod touch & iphone

Ispeak translates words and sentences from English into another language. At this time they don’t let you translate from one foreign language into another foreign language, for example Swedish to French.

How it works:
To use the program you type in the sentence or words you want to translate and they will appear in the foreign language you have selected. Right now there are nine foreign languages available, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, and Swedish.

If you want to now how to actually say the translated words, there is a “speak it” button that will pronounce the word or sentence for you. You can also save translations for later use as well as do a reverse translation that lets you translate words from a foreign language into English. This can be really helpful when you are trying to figure out what something written in a foreign says.

The cost is $2.00 per foreign language.

What people say:
* ok…that pretty much rocks as one of the coolest and surprisingly useful iphone apps ever.

* Like this Reply to this comment by rach_2 February 10, 2009 10:16 PM PST I have the app (Portuguese
   one) it is very cool — However, the reviewer omit a VERY IMPORTANT information — The apps relies
   on the data connection because it uses Google Translation. Good luck with your roaming charge in  

* Also while it is cool when you type in a English word it will translate say into Spanish, and you could click 
   Speak it to listen to the Spanish. When you need to pronounce say a Spanish word, and you type it in, it 
   will translate it into English, but it only pronounce the English word, they should add a way to pronounce
   the Spanish word also.

* Nice idea, although looks like the app’s translation engine needs a lot of work. By the looks of the example
   in the screenshot it translates individual words without looking at the context, which often leads to weird
   results. �Cu�nto cuesta este coste? = how much does it cost this cost?

* I don’t have an iphone, but if i do, i would never buy this application, just because of that image, a
   completely wrong translation in such a simple phrase,

Word Lens for iphone

The cost is $4.99 per language. Right now translations are available for English to Spanish but I am sure more languages will follow soon.

How it works:
You point your camera at a sign, book or any words written in a foreign language and the text will appear in English on your phone’s screen in the same font and in the same layout.

The nice thing about Word Lens is that is requires no internet connection so there will be no roaming charges, yeah!

The issues users are experiencing are the limit languages available and the fact the any movement of the camera causes the app to struggle to capture and translate the text.

What people say:
* The program makes a straight, no-frills literal translation, which can be a problem sometimes. So, “orden
   de burritos” on a menu in Guadalajara appears as “order of young donkeys” rather than “order of burritos.”

* World Lens also has trouble with some fonts. Won’t recognize handwriting.

* Can really only translate simple sentences.

* Very cool.

Google Translate App

How is works:
Bring up the program, speak the words you want to translate and a few moments later the phone will repeat the words in the chosen language as well as appear in text form on your phone’s screen.

The program works on any phone that uses Google’s Android operating system and can translate into over 50 languages.

You will need to download the text-to-speech pack in order to make the most out of this app which is limited to only a few common languages.

Google Translate will remember previous translation requests so you won’t have to enter the same phrase over and over again if you use it more then once.

The cost: FREE

What people say:
* Does a great job translating most anything that doesn’t contain a lot of casual or slang language. I
   particularly like that it will detect the language automatically and that I can navigate the entire site in its
   translated form.

* It tends to take a very literal translation.

* One of the best translators.