Language Scientific was founded in 1999 by a group of international scientists and engineers. The company was born out of the group’s frustration with the inaccurate technical and scientific translations they discovered while working together on a nuclear non-proliferation project for the US Department of Energy. Today, Language Scientific has grown to include over 5,000 highly specialized translators.
The palm-sized ECTACO Partner 900 is ideal for those interested in learning Spanish. It instantly converts voice text by repeating it aloud or speaking it in Spanish or English, and also has a roster of other features to help you learn the language. Take a photo of text (such as a restaurant menu) and it instantly converts it to English (an Internet connection is required for this part of the program). There’s also a talking picture dictionary and phrasebook, as well as a full language-learning program with linguistic crosswords and pronunciation assistance. The translator measures 6 x 3.5 x 0.7 inches and weighs 9.8 ounces.
For a translator that will get you through the basics of several European languages without putting a giant hole in your pocket, the Franklin TWE-118 is a great choice. The handheld device translates to and from English, French, Spanish, German and Italian with more than 210,000 translations available. The device measures 4.25 x 2.75 x .62 and resembles a calculator, with a letter keyboard to type in words and phrases. There’s a search function that categorizes phrases into useful groups such as dining, hotels, directions, business and more. There’s also a built-in currency converter, spell checker, databank for names and phone numbers and calculator, plus a world clock and games. 
But I understand that not everyone is willing to wing it like that. Some topics aren’t as easily explained with hand gestures (how do you mime something like “hotel” or "I'm allergic to peanuts."). While I’m a strong proponent of getting a local SIM when you travel, and thereby gaining access to Google Translate wherever you are, that too is not always possible.
I do wish it did more. The company is very pro one-way translation. Their arguments are valid, but I still think it’d be useful for the other person to be understood as well. It’d be easy enough to say, and have ili translate “press the button and say small sentences,” or something similar, to get the person understand how to use it and to keep it simple. This isn’t as huge of a complaint as it might seem, though, since like I said above, it’s remarkable what one can accomplish with hand gestures. So many travel interactions require simple, easily-understood responses, that getting yourself understood is way more than 50% of any interaction.

We spent 25 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. As friendly as people can be in other countries, there are some concepts you simply can't get across through pantomime. Before you head off on that round-the-world dream vacation, consider one of these voice translators. They take up a lot less space in a suitcase than 15 different dictionaries would, so you'll have more room for souvenirs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best voice translator on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Electronics-Electronic-Foreign-Language-Translators/zgbs/electronics/290461
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