What’s the best free translation software for me?

If you’re planning on using free translation software, there’s a lot out there to choose from. Let’s take a look at the best free translation software solutions available to help you decide what’s going to be the right option for you.


      What is translation software?

      The ability to communicate in multiple languages has never been more important, especially for businesses operating in a global marketplace. Luckily, you don’t need to spend months learning new languages at night school or struggling with a phrasebook anymore. Whatever language you need to speak, there is now software that can help.

      Of course, human translation services have been around for a long time, and they still offer the best results. But not every project demands the pinpoint accuracy that a native speaking human translator delivers. Translation software can now offer a workable solution.

      In a nutshell, translation software – also known as machine translation – takes your text or speech and translates it into your chosen target language. It can be as simple as copying and pasting your content into the input area and selecting ‘Go’.

      There is translation software that you have to pay for, but there are also many free translation software solutions out there. To help you choose the best free translation software for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of three common options.

      Machine translate your text using the latest, secure technology.

      Number 1 – Google Translate

      Google was one of the pioneers of machine translation. Its simple-to-use free translation software is still one of the most popular solutions and is used by more than 200 million users every day.


      • Language options: Google Translate supports more than 100 different languages. Google regularly updates the language options available, as well as frequently adding other useful features.
      • Storage: Storing languages offline means that you can translate without an internet connection if needed.
      • Versatility: Google Translate works with text, photographs and even handwriting. This can save you the time of having to switch between different translation software applications. If you have a variety of content to translate, Google Translate acts as your one-stop shop.


      • Accuracy: While the results are usually accurate enough to get you by on holiday, Google Translate isn’t recommended for most business needs.
      • Security: Google Translate shouldn’t be used for sensitive or confidential translations. The text you enter is stored on a server, so the security of your information is only as good as the security of that server – and there are no guarantees. Your text also becomes the property of Google. This means the corporation is able to use your data in future if it chooses to do so, which could cause confidentiality issues. If you’re looking for translation software offering security, consider using something like Semantix solution for secure MT. There’s even a free demo you can try here.
      • Lack of learning: This software doesn’t learn as you use it, unlike more sophisticated solutions. That means that your translations won’t improve in accuracy over time. This can be particularly problematic when it comes to nuances in language, or terms that are specific to certain industries.

      Number 2 – iTranslate

      iTranslate is another popular free translation software solution for Windows or Mac. It can help you translate text, speech or complete websites.


      • It’s straightforward: Simply type in your text to translate into more than 90 languages. iTranslate can even translate Chinese or Japanese characters.
      • Data security: iTranslate offers better data security than some other free translation software, such as Google Translate. Content translations are not stored, either in the source or target language. This means that iTranslate might help you comply with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
      • Voice output: Choose between dialects for your voice output. For example, hear how your translation sounds in American English or Australian English. You can also change between male or female voice output and even adjust the speed of the voice.


      • No-frills free version: The free version has limited functionality. Some of the more sophisticated tools, such as offline mode and voice conversation, are only available to pro users.
      • User interface: Some users report finding the iTranslate user interface tricky to get to grips with at first. The potentially longer learning curve with this software is certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a quick-fix free translation software solution.
      • Accuracy: Like other options on our list of the best free translation software, iTranslate has issues with accuracy. Translations can sometimes be off the mark. Like Google Translate, iTranslate is a great tool for holidays abroad, but might not be the perfect solution for business users.

      Number 3 – Babylon Translator

      Babylon free translation software is another popular choice. It has a well-established reputation as being one of the more reliable free options for PC or Mac users.


      • Office document formatting: Babylon maintains the original formatting of Microsoft Office documents. This saves you time spent copying and pasting chunks of translated text into a new Office document before applying the required format.
      • Language options: Babylon offers more than 70 language options and the list is growing.
      • Accuracy: Many users report that Babylon provides greater accuracy than other free translation software available for Mac or PC.


      • Support: Some users say that the technical support available from Babylon isn’t great – especially for the free version.
      • Bugs: Regular users report that there are bugs in Babylon that the company has known about for some time but that haven’t been addressed. Developments and improvements might be significantly slower to materialise than with other solutions on our list of the best free translation software.

      The take-away

      Flesh and bone human translators are still unbeatable when it comes to accuracy, but free translation software is now a cost-effective solution for some applications. However, there are issues you need to consider very carefully, particularly if you intend to use it for anything other than casual, personal use.

      Security and accuracy are often essential for business communications. You might find that using a solution like Semantix’ machine translation service is your best option to avoid confidentiality breaches or incorrect translations.

      If you need help choosing a translation solution that’s right for your business, our language experts are always happy to help.

      Contact Semantix and we’ll talk you through your options.