I’m split on the ili in two ways. I travel a lot. For the last 3+ years I’ve spent extended time in over 30 countries across 5 continents. In all that time I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve needed any translator. While Mandarin is the most-spoken first language in the world (Spanish being second), English is by far the most prevalent second language. It’s essentially the lingua franca of the world, especially in touristy places. In the times during my travels there was no common language between me and someone, a big smile and hand gestures worked wonders.
Offering both enterprise and consumer versions, Microsoft Translator is probably the most versatile option on the market. Users can type the text they want translated, speak aloud, or take a photo of an image containing the text. The translator is also available as a Smartwatch app, for both iOS and Android, making it easily accessible for on-the-go travelers.
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. https://www.business.com/categories/translation-software-and-services/

These devices are a popular gift for elderly relatives or retirees doing a bit of traveling, and the last thing they need is to spend all day messing around with a faulty Bluetooth connection, which is why the top picks on this list all have big screens. You won't need to pair them with your phone, and they support a wide variety of languages. More niche options have features like offline translation, but the language selection is limited.
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.
It's important to keep in mind there’s no such thing as “real time translation” yet, despite what Google says. We’re still not quite there for the Star Trek-style Universal Translator that just speaks in your language while someone else is speaking. Right now it’s sentence (pause) by sentence (pause), give or take a few sentences. No translator is meant to tell your life story. Mostly it’s for asking for the bathroom. The ili does that, and a lot more. It's positioned as travel-centric, but I threw a lot of random phrases its way and it did pretty well. Maybe it can't translate random medical conditions, but just about anything a traveler would need should be covered.
There are three buttons. The power button does what you’d expect. You hold the big one on the front to have ili listen and automatically translate. Tapping it again will repeat the phrase it just spoke. The third button repeats back what it thinks you said, in ili’s voice. If you hold down that last button it switches between the ili's 3 languages: Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin.
TransBox: One Hour Translation developed TransBox to help businesses who frequently communicate with foreign language speakers over email. This unique system helps bridge the language gap between the email sender and reader. A client can email you in one language, and you will respond in your native language after having the original email translated by a human translator. The whole process takes only a few hours for a short email exchange.
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
×