The best travel apps: Translate Languages

Updated over 1 year ago

I can't even. 我甚至不能. No puedo ni siquiera. Je ne peux même pas. Don't let language be a barrier to letting others know you can't. With these translation apps, even you, yes you, can. #anythingispossible


Many are unaware you can translate live video aka whatever your camera is looking at even when offline. It's a fast way to translate big signs without having to manually type it in (especially if it's non latin like Chinese).

Did you know?

Competition is brewing among tech giants on who can use artificial intelligence (AI) the best, and improving language translation accuracy is a key battle ground. All the major translator apps today use an AI technology called machine learning aka it's really good at finding patterns in data. After Google added this new system in 2016, it "demonstrated overnight improvements roughly equal to the total gains the old one had accrued over its entire lifetime." Skynet, anyone?

Think a product deserves to be listed here? Suggest it

Google Translateworks offline

Best overall translation app

If you were to only use one translation app, it'd be Google Translate. It supports the most languages (103), lets you download most for usage offline, and is now more accurate than ever thanks to AI. You can translate through five methods: type, speak, draw, picture, and live video translation (which can be really useful for signs).

Sorry iOS users, but Android gets a special "tap to translate" feature that lets you translate directly in chat apps. If you've ever had to chat in a foreign language, you know how big of a time saver that could be.

List of supported languages »

Microsoft Translatorworks offline

Great alternative, especially for live conversation translations

Microsoft Translator only supports 60 languages to Google's 103, but if you were to look beyond that one measure it's actually better in a few ways. Google Translate lets you save phrases for future use, but Microsoft goes further and includes an entire set of commonly used phrases for quick reference. Microsoft's image translation is also easier to use (you don't need to manually highlight words).

However, the biggest feature that sets Microsoft Translator apart from Google Translate is simply called "conversations" that translates conversations in real time between multiple people and devices. It lets people partake in discussions regardless of language in a more natural way vs. having to constantly speak or type into a phone in a jilted back and forth manner. It's what a future where language isn't a barrier would feel like.

Baidu Translateworks offline

Best for Chinese or when in China

We recommend Baidu Translate if you're going to China (since Google is blocked there) or if you want more accurate Chinese translations like local lingo. Baidu is basically the Google of China so it's not surprising Chinese is their specialty.

Wanderprep curates the best travel gear, apps, and tips. Our goal is concise recommendations that respect your time and help you travel better and more responsibly. To fund these guides and our giving back goals aka make money, we sometimes use affiliate links. Learn our story and approach. We believe great apps give us superpowers that make traveling easier. See what we evaluate besides design, features, and coverage.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.