More than anything else, apps shrink the world like the World Wide Web couldn’t. There are apps to go places, apps to invite strangers over for dinner, apps to share your couch with a visiting traveller, and apps to track the ISS. It is inevitable that, sooner or later, you’re going to meet people you never thought you would, who share your interests. And just when you’re about to say “Hello!” you realise you speak different languages. To help with that, here are three great translation apps.

SayHi Translate

SayHi is available on the iTunes app store for 99 cents (Rs. 54), and an Android version is expected within the next two months.

The app can recognise 32 languages and dialects, including Korean, Swedish, Danish, Polish, and Russian. Even more, it is also equipped to understand and translate nine languages via voice, which means you can now speak Hindi (or Slovak if you’re up for it) into the phone and find out what it means in Italian or Basque, instantly.

It also stores the text of past translations locally. The only drawback is that you have to be connected to the net if you want to translate anything new. Last, SayHi can be a good companion app if you’re learning a new language, and carry it like an interpreter in your pocket!

Google Translate

An oldie but goodie, Google Translate still dominates online translation services for the sheer number of languages it can translate — over 60 — whether you’re keying the words in or speaking them. It’s available for Android, and iOS devices.

If you’re using the translation service on an Android device, you can also make use of a cool augmented reality feature. Just snap a signboard text on which you’re having a tough time deciphering, highlight the textual bits, and Google Translate will have your answer.

The interface, as keeping with most of Google products and services, has nothing to look at. Just be sure you’re using the two-way button, to flip input and output languages, right. And, not the least, it’s absolutely free.


Mantaphrase advertises itself as an interactive communications app, and is available only for iOS devices. Another major drawback is that if you want to use it for free, you’ve to be an oriental sojourner: only English, “traditional” Chinese, and Japanese come at no price.

Additional languages can be purchased, but Mantaphrase is yet to roll them out.

Going beyond simply translating what you want to understand or say at the moment, Mantaphrase also provides suggestions for what you can say next. This means you can build conversations from the word “Go!” instead of being awkward around your newfound interlocutors.

Finally, unlike SayHi and Google Translate, Mantaphrase works even if you’re offline.


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