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.
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.
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. 

Human translation: Human translation is performed by people who are fluent in the language pair being translated. The whole process, from translation to proofreading, is performed by people. This type of translation is generally more accurate than machine translation since the humans who translate will account for nuances and cultural context. Because of this, though, it takes longer than machine translation.


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.

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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