These days, it’s easy to translate virtually any two languages online in a matter of seconds. But what about those situations where you’re disconnected?
You might be doing some translation work on the aeroplane. Or, perhaps you’re on holiday and you need to ask for directions. Or maybe you’re completely out of the range of any internet connection and desperately in need of a translation.
Whether you’re going travelling, your device data has finished, or you’re in transit without access to the internet, an offline translator app can really come in handy. Luckily, there are many options out there, and in this article we’ll introduce you to some of your options.
Whether smartphone or desktop translators, many of the best online translation apps also have free offline versions with an impressive range of languages available. There are also dedicated apps for some Asian languages if you’re travelling further afield. Finally, there are some electronic translator devices which you can carry in your pocket if that is a more convenient option for your lifestyle.
Offline translators at a glance
Here is a table comparing the major smartphone translation apps. Read on to find more detailed information on each one.
|APP||OFFLINE PRICE||iOS||ANDROID||SPECIAL FEATURE|
|Free||Yes||Yes||59 languages supported offline|
Private chatroom between users
|Itranslate||Pay for offline||Yes||Yes|| |
Award winning design and non-standard Arabic variations
Simple and light for Chinese, Japanese and Korean menus
Offline translator apps for iphone and android
You’re probably familiar with the online Google Translate interface, but were you aware of the offline app? Google Translate is one of the most popular translation apps, available on both iOS and Android. It is free to download, boasting an impressive 59 languages on its offline app and even more online.
How to use Google Translate offline :
- Download the Google Translate app free from the app store.
- Open the app, and check that the language you want to download is one of the two at the top of your screen. If it isn’t, click on the Translate To or Translate From side of the screen and select the language you want.
- Tap the download icon, represented by an arrow on the right.
- for free
- translates text excerpts and photos
- many language pairs available
- not all the functions of the online app are available offline.
This is another trusted and established free translation app that supports 44 languages offline, and works on both Apple and Android operating systems. One of the unique features of Microsoft Translator is the possibility of a private chatroom between two users, where each user can type in their own language which then gets automatically translated to the recipient’s language. The offline version of the app allows text translation, photo translation as well as a phrasebook.
- for free
- translates text excerpts and photos
- many language pairs available
- the translation for some language pairs is better than for others.
This is another highly recommended and award-winning translation app, noted for its fantastic design and seamless user experience. Unlike Google Translate and Microsoft Translator, Itranslate’s offline mode is paid via a monthly subscription, but can be de-activated when no longer needed. The app covers about 37 languages offline, and it is the only app on the market allowing real-time conversation translation between non-standard Arabic varieties.
- Award winning design
- non-standard Arabic variations
- 37 languages are available offline
- it is not for free and paid via a monthly subscription
This is another highly-rated translator app, though it is exclusive to Apple operating systems. It has a clean, easy-to-use design and boasts a number of great features including offline mode. The free version has some restrictions, but the Pro membership version offers unlimited use, voice and camera translation, and conversation mode. If you have an iPhone, it might be worth trying this out.
- Pro membership (subscription required) offers voice and camera translation as well as conversation mode
- not available for Android
You can download “Translate Now” form the App Store.
If you’re looking to translate Russian to English, this could be the app for you. Promt.One is an offline translator that works with both iOS and Android. The free version includes an online translator, dictionary and phrasebook, and image translation, as well as a free offline Russian-English language package to be used online. The paid premium version is advertising-free and includes additional features like the offline mode for 7 other languages. Promt also offer a desktop app which we’ll discuss further down.
- desktop app as well as an app for iOS and Android
- offline translation + dictionary, phrasebook and image translation
- not many languages are available
Conclusion-offline translator apps for iphone and android
No doubt, there are a lot of offline translator apps out there. Which one is the best fit for you depends a lot on the context in which you plan to use the app, if it is for work, for holidays or maybe for school. An offline app that can translate photos will come in handy, when you are on holiday and try to translate the menu or street signs. While an app with an additional dictionary will be useful, if you actually try to learn a language and want to look up words in context.
Another factor that should be considered when you pick an offline translator app is the source and target language. For some language pairs the translation will be much better than for others.
Over all you should always keep in mind that those apps are good to give you a rough idea of the content you are translating, but those apps don’t offer a translation that is good enough to be used in a professional context. Sure, machine translation has improved a lot, but it still has many flaws, so whenever you are in need of a professional translation, it is best to have your content translated by professional translators.
All our qualified translators, here at EHLION, are native speakers, with many years of experience. This is why translations by EHLION ensure that your message will reach your audience exactly as it was intended to. We provide a wide range of translation services like website localisation, technical translation or website and SEO translation.
Special offline translation apps
Here are a couple of offline translator apps that are designed for more specialised language pairings.
Available on both iOS and Android, this free app specialises in 13 languages, particularly Asian languages like Korean, Japanese, simplified Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Thai. It also has an offline option, so if you’re travelling in Asia, this could be the perfect app for you.
Offline translators for desktop
So far we’ve talked a lot about mobile apps for offline translation. But what if you’re working on a desktop? Well, have no fear – there are a number of offline translation apps you can use on your computer or laptop.
Like the mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android, Microsoft Translator also offers a free desktop translator for Windows. The offline version allows text translation, photo translation as well as a phrasebook.
Prompt offers various high-quality language products, including an offline translator for Mac. It has a clean interface and supports translation in various programs including Microsoft Word, Apple iBooks, Apple TextEdit, Apple Pages, and web browsers like Chrome or Safari. Translations from English into German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and vice versa are free.
Babylon for Mac 3.1
This is a translation programme for Mac that costs €119, and claims to be “the world’s most advanced translation technology”. It works in 77 languages and can be combined with premium dictionaries that Babylon also offers. This could be a great option for a small business.
Virtaal is a free, downloadable translation software with a clean and simple interface. It is available for both Mac and PC, so it’s worth trying if you want an alternative to the above options.
Language translator devices
If you’re looking to take your offline translation to the next level, it might be worth investing in one of the available offline and voice translator devices. Many of them can translate voice to voice conversations which make them an excellent choice for anyone who is having multiple foreign-language conversations for work, or as part of their daily life. Here are some options:
Birgus Two Way Language Translator
This device costs about $167 and supports two-way translation in 70 languages. It performs speech translation by recording the original language and instantly translating to the target language. It needs a wifi connection to work, so it wouldn’t be suitable for those travelling off-grid.
ODDO AI Pocket Translator
This device, which is compact and will easily fit in your pocket, costs about $150. It works by connecting to translating apps like Google Translate and Waygo to offer translation in 42 languages. Its AI system learns keywords and phrases as you go along. Like the Birgus translator, this requires a Wifi connection.
oddo translate app
Pulomi TT Easy Trans
This more budget-friendly device offers quick translation of simple words and phrases in 52 languages. It works alongside a mobile app, connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so isn’t as independent as the previous two options, though more affordable.
Ili Instant Offline Translator
This lightweight and compact translator is designed for travellers. It is an offline voice translator, so no Internet connection is needed. However, Ili only allows one-way translation, not two-way like the more advanced devices we’ve talked about. It only supports a handful of languages – English to Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, or Korean.
WT2 Language Translator
This translator is a little pricier at $230. It’s worn in the ear and designed for fast, two-way translation of 40 languages and 88 accents with up to 95% accuracy. It works by connecting to your phone via Bluetooth. It might be a good option for professional contexts, such as call centres.
Whether you are travelling, working on the go or your job requires you to interact with lots of different languages, offline translators are brilliant pieces of technology that can make your life a lot easier.
Google, Microsoft and a number of other providers offer offline translation apps for iPhone, Android and Desktop with plenty of customisable options. Many of these apps are free, so cost shouldn’t come in the way of quick, easy and automatic translation.
We have also tested the best online translator apps for you: The best translator apps tested for iPhone and Android.
Offline and online translator apps are sufficient for a quick and approximate translation, but definitely not suitable for professional or written standards. Although machine translation has improved a lot during the recent years, it is not able to replace human translation for many reasons. As for example when it comes to translating jokes, idioms or irony, machines often don’t have a clue what to do. Furthermore, texts often need to be adapted for a target audience in a different country, with a different cultural background, something a translation app is not capable of.
In those cases, you need professional translations. EHLION provides a wide range of translation services, such as app localisation, notarized translations or video and film subtitling. Learn more about the wide variety of services we offer.