Lonely Planet Offline Translator series
Cost: $4.99 | Developer: Lonely Planet | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Size: varies (around 250MB usually) |
Enter Lonely Planet’s series of Offline Translators for the major languages out there. They work on both iPhone and iPad, and are a pretty good deal in helping you get about.
The Translators can recognise both text and voice inputs, though predictably the voice input option takes some training to become useful. It’s also best if you stick to standard phrases, because the software does get confused by more unusual topics of conversation.
The translation process is reasonably quick, and then the program will spit out the answer in the nature text (as well as display it on the screen if you want to take a crack at saying it yourself).
And that’s about all these programs do. There’s the option to include or exclude profanity, and a pretty comprehensive dictionary built into the software, but the options don’t extend to letting you translate things the other way.
The latin-based languages are the best ones, as it's easy to translate things either way. For those languages that use a different character set, you won’t be able to tap out (for instance) a Japanese phrase and get the English translation on the screen, though the software does allow you to record and translate Japanese phrases to English, and there is a Japanese-English dictionary. Not being able to type out phrases in the translator box does severely limits the Translators both as ways to keep communication flows and educational tools for people learning the language.
But for those stock standard phrases we all need to know when you’re in a foreign language speaking nation, the Offline Translators are a handy resource for travellers that don’t want a massive phone bill when they get back to Australia.
Pros: Roaming-free peace of mind when you find yourself overseas ... cheap asking price
Cons:The translation only works one way, limiting the software’s value to language students
Verdict: This is just another way that Lonely Planet makes getting around overseas easier.
Get it here: Lonely Planet
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