What are the best free translation apps in 2022?

Our world speaks over 7,000 languages, but today we can communicate with more people than ever before. Translation apps are easy to use and some are even free.

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      Not so long ago, automatic machine (non-human) translation was a hit and miss business. Even complex computers struggled to deliver accurate results. Conversations were limited to a quick word or two... and only when accuracy wasn’t that important.

      Using machine translation for anything other than brief social exchanges was implausible. Yet today, smartphone technology has evolved so quickly, most of us are walking around with a capable translator in our pockets. Even better – our little pocket translator can work for free.

      There are plenty of free translation apps for Android and free translation apps for iPhone available to choose from. As with most tech, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

      If you’re looking for a free translation app, researching what’s available and suits your needs best is going to take you hours – and so is downloading them all and trying them in turn! That’s why we've put together a list of the best free translation apps for Android and iPhone to help you make the best choice.

      Want to know more about Semantix translation and content services?

      Top ten free translation apps

      1. Apple Translate free translation app for iPhone

      Available free with iOS 14 or higher, Apple Translate is relatively new. It’s challenging Google Translate for the top spot and currently translates between eleven languages. If the security of your information is important to you, it’s worth noting that Apple does a better job than Google when it comes to protecting user privacy.

      • We like: Being able to translate voice and text content offline – always handy when you’re on the move or travelling abroad.
      • We don't like: Not being able to translate handwriting or directly from photographs.

      2. SpeakText free translation app for iPhone

      SpeakText reads your documents for you in a choice of over a hundred different voices and fifty languages.

      • We like: The choice of different voices, genders and dialects. You can even change the tempo of the voice. You can use it to read your mail while you give your morning coffee your full attention.
      • We don’t like: It’s ‘glitchy’ and prone to crashing. It’s basic and does what it says on the tin, but nothing else. The better features are only available as in-app purchases.

      3. Microsoft Translator free translation app for iPhone and Android

      Impressively accurate translations in over seventy languages. Microsoft Translator works with text, voice, full conversations and photos.

      • We like: Its accuracy and ease of use, which makes it quick to learn and simple to operate.
      • We don’t like: It can be slow, so real-time conversations take a lot of patience. Some features don’t work in the less commonly spoken languages offered.

      4. BK Translate free translation app for Android

      BK Translate is comprised of several apps that pair English with your chosen second language.

      • We like: If you’re only translating between English and one other language, you won’t be using up valuable storage space on your smartphone for information about languages you don’t need.
      • We don't like: For the true multilingual user, the one-to-one language pairing isn’t going to be enough. If you want to swap languages, you’ll need to stop and download a different version of the app.

      5. Google Translate free translation app for iPhone and Android

      Google Translate offers over a hundred language choices. It can translate handwriting, voice, text and photos taken with your phone’s camera.

      • We like: Google Translate has been around for years and it shows. Its features are solidly built and the translations are accurate enough for a free app. It’s a good choice for non-confidential social communications.
      • We don’t like: Once you enter your information, it becomes the property of Google. Google may then use your data in whatever way it wishes. If confidentiality is important to you, make sure you read the small print on any free translation app license agreement.

      6. SayHi free translation app for iPhone and Android

      SayHi is a simple translation app that helps two people who speak different languages to have a conversation. You just tap the button and start speaking.

      • We like: SayHi is so easy to use, you won’t have to spend time learning how to use it before you jump into a multilingual conversation. It has no advertising or in-app purchases and it’s consistently highly rated by users.
      • We don’t like: SayHi is designed for simple two-way conversations. It enables you to understand each other. If your needs are more sophisticated, you’ll need a more capable solution.

      7. Naver Papago free translation app for Android and iPhone

      Naver Papago translates text, photos and speech. It also works very well as a handwriting translation app.

      • We like: Naver Papago is a top choice for translating between Korean, Japanese and Chinese. It also offers users good support.
      • We don't like: There are better free translation apps for European languages.

      8. Trip Lingo free translation app for iPhone and Android

      Trip Lingo is a great choice if you’re serious about picking up a new language thanks to its range of learning tools. It currently supports nineteen different languages.

      • We like: The safety tools – such as information about how to telephone the emergency services in a different country. There are also handy cultural notes available, which are great if you’re on your travels.
      • We don't like: The best features aren’t available for free. But, if you try the free version of the app and like it, they’re worth the upgrade.

      9. iTranslate free translation app for Android and iPhone

      iTranslate has a choice of over a hundred languages and translates text, voice and photographs.

      • We like: The company takes user privacy very seriously and says it keeps your data secure. The app is stacked full of useful features.
      • We don’t like: The free version is enough to get you started but in-app purchases are needed for the best features.

      10. Dictionary Linguee free translation app for iPhone and Android

      Dictionary Linguee is an app-based dictionary and phrasebook. It’s not exactly going to translate for you, as some of the more powerful apps do, but it’s a great tool to have in your pocket, wherever your travels take you.

      • We like: The audio pronunciations and sentence examples to show your translation used in the right context.
      • We don’t like: It’s more like a digital version of an ‘old-style’ dictionary/phrasebook. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some of the other apps on the list. But, if you’re ‘old school’ or like this approach, it’s a great choice!

      Conclusion

      The key to choosing the best free translation app for your needs, whether you’re an Android or iPhone user, is to think about exactly what you need it to do. If you need to have more complex conversations than asking for directions on your next holiday, you’ll need to make sure your chosen app is up to the job.

      Free apps often come with strings attached. Always make sure you read the small print. It’s also important that you understand the app provider’s data security policy. If confidentiality is important to you, consider a secure machine translation application like Semantix’ machine translation.

      Translate instantly using secure technology