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.
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.
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.
SDL is a leading content creation and translation company, with a free machine translation service for basic-level translations. We are currently undertaking development work on our free translation tool, and hope to be back in action shortly. However in the meantime, select an option below to find out more about our professional and enterprise-grade translation services:
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. https://ca.indeed.com/cmp/Rev.com/reviews
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EN-15038:2006 certification: This certification is a specific European standard for translation services and is designed to provide translation service providers with a detailed set of procedures and requirements that are meant to meet the needs of the market. A translation done by a company with EN-15038:2006 certification is read by a reviewer other than the translator before it can be finalized. Translators who work for a certified translation service must meet specific requirements, such as achieving advanced translation certification, an equivalent qualification in another area of specialization in addition two years or more of documented experience translating and/or a minimum of five years’ experience of professional translating. 

For an alternative to carrying several dictionaries in various languages, the Brookstone Passport is an excellent choice and provides more than 8,000 useful phrases. The device cross translates 12 international languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Dutch, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Swedish. Measuring 5.4 x 4.8 x 4 inches, the portable translator has eight conversational categories to choose from and it “speaks” aloud and displays the phrase on the screen. Another handy feature is that it allows you to save up to 50 favorite phrases. It also comes with a built-in personal phone book to help stay organized and an auto-shut off button with password access. 
The Wikipedia translator -- very useful for technical translations. Harnesses the vast amount of cross-lingual information on Wikipedia and Wiktionary, and present it in a neat, time-saving way. Simple user interface. Built for translators, by a translator, but is a generic tool for anyone who wonders what a word or phrase means, which language it is and what it is in other languages. All Wikipedia languages (currently 292).
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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. https://wiki.ezvid.com/best-voice-translators
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