Translation apps have definitely come a long way, and while nothing is quite like the Babel fish (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) yet, there are still some pretty great applications out there. Beware, however, for as many good apps that are out there are about twice as many bad ones. This rundown will help you know how to distinguish between the best and worst translation apps.

Google Translate

Worst: This rating is of no surprise to most people. Google translate is known for being wildly inaccurate with more complex translations. The program is incapable of interpreting anything above the bare minimum and I know from personal experience that it can be more hurtful if you’re trying to communicate than helpful. Definitely an app you should try to avoid.


Best: Apple has a little more success with their translation app. In fact out of a 5 star rating, iTranslate, along with its add-on feature iTranslate Voice, is given 4 stars. This is due to great accuracy in over 100 different languages. The app also provides a speak option which can help you communicate with someone in real-time.

Microsoft Translate

Worst: It seems that Windows has fallen short next to their counterpart Apple once again. This translation app is regarded as one of the worst on the market right now. That’s because it has problems with translating even the simplest of phrases. All over the internet one can find blog posts and reviews bashing the application so it would probably be best to avoid it.


Best: A perfect app for travellers, Triplingo not only helps with communication and translating phrases it also has photo recognition as well as culture lessons for every country you visit. Highly regarded in its reviews, this application helps interpret the language and teaches you the important aspect of the country. Something you have to check out if you plan on backpacking this summer.


Worst: While many thought this app to be useful in the beginning, it actually has a lot of issues internally. SayHi specializes in automated translation based on what you say. No hands necessary, just talk and it will interpret and translate your words into whatever language you want. However, it can get quite tricky. If you mispronounce something or if it doesn’t hear you the app changes the entire phrase into something completely wrong. Also, the app’s translator isn’t always accurate and when it is the voice sounds a bit robotic. No need to download, you’d be better off with a phrase book.

Are there translation apps out there that you thought should have been on this list? Let us know!

Andrea Spila
Andrea Spila

Andrea Spila è traduttore e web writer. Prima di laurearsi in filosofia e di ottenere un dottorato in pedagogia sperimentale, ha insegnato l’inglese nelle scuole materne ed elementari. Ha lavorato anche come interprete, in particolare per scrittori e artisti, tra i quali spiccano Rebecca Solnit e Ken Loach. Nel 1999 ha fondato Traduttori per la Pace, un’associazione di volontari che offrono le proprie competenze alle organizzazioni della società civile impegnate nella difesa dei diritti umani e dell’ambiente. 
Oltre a scrivere, Andrea ama cantare, arrampicare e andare in canoa. 

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