No matter where your travels take you, the smartphone apps are now-a-days making you increasingly fluent in the local lingo. While learning new languages, one does not need to communicate perfectly; only getting the message across is sufficient. But sometimes communicating your message seems to be a difficult task (when you are not fluent with the said language).
One such way to communicate effectively is ‘Photo translation’. Photo translation extracts the words from an image and translates the words into another language. Simply speaking, it translates the photo into the desired language. You take a snap of a sign, a stolen car with a mysterious bumper stick or book cover etc., the app will tell you what it says.
This app is absolutely free and is available for iPhone and Android. With a white, simple and sleek interface, the Word Lens feature of this app makes it great because of its ability to translate the words instantly on the screen. This is only available for Italian, French, German, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish.
The text gets literally morphed into your desired language while you were moving the camera about. So, after taking a photo, you do not need to wait for the app to decode the meaning.
The translation of the photo sometimes turns out to be quite literal, so the word order can be awkward. Given that you are holding your smartphone with your wobbly human hands, the app may tend to rearrange the sentence in different ways. But for understanding the text within context, as reading a map, menu or a sign, would certainly aid you while traveling.
Further, the app may struggle with some curly fonts and handwritten words, which gives you an option to write words with your fingertip, so that the app could understand it well.
There are a number of other apps as well in the market, including Photo Translator and Communilator. The major disadvantage with these apps is that they took up to a minute to work out the photograph and are never correct. They are also heavily dependent on internet connection that is not always possible while traveling.
After photo translation, Duolingo is a great language learning application. It was awarded as the Best App for 2013 by Google Play Store and the AppStore. It relies on repetition, conversation and pronunciation to aid you.