Learning a foreign language before you visit a new country is simply a step too far for many people, but fear not, help is at hand. The free Google Translate app can translate words and phrases between 65 languages. For the majority, you can speak aloud and hear the correct translation spoken aloud back to you. You can imagine what a handy tool this can be when you’re struggling to communicate with a local.
You can also use your phone’s camera to take a picture of a sign or a menu and have the text translated by the app. There’s even a speech-to-speech conversation mode, although it is currently limited to 14 languages. One drawback of the app is the fact that it needs a network connection or WiFi in order to work in real-time, so you need to consider this and the potential cost if you are abroad. Thankfully, you can save specific translations to refer to when you are offline, so with a little preparation, it can still be very useful without a network connection.
If you aren’t a fan of typing on the touchscreen, then you’ll be delighted to hear that there’s a handwriting mode too where you can write whatever you want translated directly on the screen. Google Translate enables you to connect with locals and break down the language barrier wherever you happen to be, and it’s an invaluable tool for travelers.