Mobile apps for translation
These interactive versions of Lonely Planet’s print books offer quick reference to more than 600 key travel phrases, which are delivered to you via text (with phonetic spellings) or audio recording.
Best For: First-time visitors. The app, which covers 10 major language groups, makes coming up with the right words easy.
Runs On: Android, iPhone.
Speak an English phrase into your iPhone’s mic and Jibbigo recites the translation in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, or even Iraqi Arabic. Unlike many other translation apps, it doesn’t require a (potentially costly) data connection.
Best For: Foreign-language neophytes. If you’re too nervous to say the words, Jibbigo will do it for you!
Runs On: iPhone.
Get text or voice versions of travel phrases in 44 languages (from Afrikaans and Icelandic to Korean and Mandarin). Phrases are divided into categories, including directions, business, emergencies, and banks.
Best For: Immersion travelers who will make use of the far-flung languages and tutorials on how to both flirt and insult in local parlance.
Runs On: iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch.
Type in a phrase, and this app will translate it into any of 52 languages. You can also download dozens of text-to-speech voices for 16 languages, including Dutch, Italian, and Turkish (iPhone version only).
Best For: Business travelers on an expense account. You need to be online to work the app, so beware: roaming data charges will apply.
Runs On: Android, iPhone/iPod Touch.