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Overcome continental divides with these Android translation apps

by Dan Kricke

Isn’t it awkward when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and they don’t speak your native language? So you end up gesturing a lot and nothing of import can really be said between the two of you because of a stupid language barrier.

Well, Android users who find themselves out and about around folks whose prominent language isn’t their own have just received a nice little boost from the Google Translate app.

Since January, the app worked as an almost-instant English/Spanish translating device, allowing you to say a phrase in one language that the app would then translate and spit out in the other. That was fine for people who spoke either Spanish or English. But last Thursday’s update to the app offers users a major boost for other available languages. You can now translate speech into 12 more language including French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Czech, Turkish, and Chinese. That is a very robust and useful update for anyone who does a lot of travelling!

But there are other worthwhile translator apps available in the Android Market, too. There’s the simply named Translator ($0.99). Translator performs the same functions that Google Translate does but promises to do so in 20+ languages, including English, Spanish, Italian and German. Certainly seems like a bigger bang for you buck, though it doesn’t have the Google brand name to throw around.

There’s also the free Real-time translator-TouchTalk app, which, despite its obviously too long name, offers several more exotic languages like Romanian, Indonesian, Finnish, Hungarian, and even Arabic. That’s a nice list of languages especially once you get away from the more common ones that these apps all seem to share.

If those won’t do it for you there’s Better Translator Pro ($3.99), an app that lets you use Google Translate or Bing Translator and it even converts SMS messages into over 30 different languages. It’s certainly pricier, but with support for 50 different languages and the SMS text conversion, it might be worth the price.

If none of those options work, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. You’d probably be better off buying Baby Talk Translator for $1.99, because at this point, an app that plays a random video when your baby makes a noise is about the only thing you’re missing among these other translation apps. And hey, maybe you can trick a friend for a minute or two.

For the rest of you, go download these apps and then book a trip. You might even learn something.