Top Translation Apps for Smart Phones


Type in a phrase, and this app will translate it into any of 52 languages. You can also download dozens of text-to-speech voices for 16 languages, including Dutch. Italian, and Turkish (iPhone version only). Good for business travelers on an expense account. You need to be online to work the app, so roaming data charges will apply. COST Free-$0.99. Runs on iPhone/iPod Touch.

Lonely Planet Phrasebooks

These interactive versions of Lonely Planet’s print books offer quick reference to more than 600 key travel phrases, which are delivered to you via text (with phonetic spellings) or audio recording. Good for First-time visitors. The app, which covers 10 major language groups, makes coming up with the right words easy. COST $9.99.  Runs on Android, iPhone.

Lingopal 44

Get text or voice versions of travel phrases in 44 languages (from Afrikaans and Icelandic to Korean and Mandarin). Phrases are divided into categories, including directions, business, emergencies, and banks. Good for travelers who will make use of the far-flung languages and tutorials on how to both flirt and insult in local parlance. COST $9.99. Runs on iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch.


Speak an English phrase into your iPhone’s mic and Jibbigo recites the translation in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, or even Iraqi Arabic. Unlike many other translation apps, it doesn’t require a (potentially costly) data connection. Good for foreign-language neophytes. If you’re too nervous to say the words, Jibbigo will do it for vou! COST starting at $24.99. Runs on iPhone.

What’s the Best Way to Make a Phonecall when Traveling?

What’s the best way to make phonecalls when traveling outside your home country?  Here are several strategies.

  1. Change SIM cards.  Avoid roaming charges by using an international SIM card in your unlocked GSM tri- or quad-band phone.  By cards from several sources, including  Check that your phone has the correct GSM frequency for your location.  You’ll most likely get a temporary international number with this approach.
  2. Sign up for an International Roaming Plan.  Your carrier may have international roaming plans that can carry you temporarily through your travels.  This is a very convenient way of keeping your current phone and SIM card while traveling, but even with the special plans, rates can be high.
  3. Use your Laptop to make calls.  Using a service like Skype or other VOIP phone services may be a very cheap way to make phonecalls while traveling abroad.  All you need is a broadband wireless internet connection.  But, you must have your laptop with you.
  4. WiFi online calls with an iPhone or other smart phone.  If you have a smart phone, you can download WiFi software for making almost free calls over the internet from  You may also try purchasing a dedicated WiFi phone