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Real Time Translation: There’s an App for That

If you need a little electronic help with your translation, you’re in luck! Instead of flipping through some dog-eared book while a locally patiently waits for you to ask him where the library is, you can now turn to modern technoHlogy for extra assistance. There are a wide variety of translation apps out there for whatever brand of phone you prefer, though some of the most interesting ones are for the iPhone, like:

Word Lens

This one is really cool. Basically, Word Lens lets you point your iPhone’s camera at whatever you need translated, like a stop sign. The image you see on the phone is the sign automatically translated! Even better, you don’t have to push any extra buttons, so you can just keep it on all the time and get instant translations for whatever confusing signs you come across in your world travels.

So far, Word Lens is only available in Spanish to English (and vice versa). Also, initial reviews of the app say the translation needs some work and you have to hold the iPhone incredibly still to get it to read the image properly. However, it’s supremely handy if you want simple, quick translations, like menus or road signs.

Google Translate

Is it any surprise Google has their hands in the translation game? And, of course, it’s free. Available for both Android and iPhone, Google Translate lets you type in words or speak them for quick translation.

Also, they have a database of over 50 languages to choose from, though not all those can use the spoken language feature. Whether you need Portuguese, Ukrainian, or Swedish, you can translate in real time in no time. And did we mention free?


For all those Blackberry users out there, fear not, you haven’t been left out! Navita is the premiere (and free) translation software for your brand. It comes with 52 languages and supports English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

One Navita’s prime features is that it integrates with other apps on your phone, like your browser or even your text messaging. This way, if you find something interesting online in the or receive a foreign language text, you can automatically translate it. ¡Que bueno!

Odyssey Translator Pro

Most translation apps will just give you the literal meaning of the words you enter. However, Odyssey Translator Pro isn’t most apps! This iPhone app actually let you construct sentences that you would actually use during a visit to another country.

There are a wide variety of options to get you started.  Any traveler knows that the majority of conversations in a foreign land end up revolving around food drinks, numbers, transportation, and basic conversation. Then you enter the start of a sentence, like “I need,” then under transport hit “call a taxi.” It gives you the real, usable sentence you need, making you sound like a native. With any luck, maybe your taxi driver won’t even charge you tourist prices!

When it comes to document translation, we’ve got you covered and you aren’t going to find better service or rates online or off. Meanwhile, we’re only a few years away from that Star Trek like universal translator in your pocket. We’ll keep an eye on the translation apps and clue you in to the hotness!