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"Boasts a compact design and superior voice translation capabilities."
"Translates, corrects spelling errors, converts currencies, and has a built-in calculator."
Best for Learning Spanish: ECTACO Partner 900 PRO Spanish at Amazon
"Mighty helpful when you’re traveling and need to be able to communicate on the fly."
Best for Images: Sauleoo Language Translator Device at Amazon
"Features a camera that can be used to capture street signs and airport gates for translation."
Best for Translating Chinese: Birgus Language Two-Way Voice Translator at Amazon
"Offers an online two-way translation with a high accuracy rate."
Best for Translating Japanese: Pocketalk Language Translator Device at Amazon
"Allows for lightning-fast communication and will help you shop, dine, and navigate."
Best for Translating Spanish: Ili Wearable Translator at Amazon
"As close to real-time translation as is technologically possible."
Best for Translating French: Buoth T9 Real Time Translation Device at Amazon
"Acting as a voice and word translator, whatever you speak will translate on a screen."
Best for Translating German: WT2 Language Translator at Amazon
"Consists of earbuds that provide translations directly into your ear rather than over a speaker."
Best for Translating Russian: Langogo Pocket AI Translator at Amazon
"Ensures accurate translation even with different accents and dialects."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Pulomi Easy Trans Smart Language Translator Device
One of the best things about traveling abroad is soaking up cultures that aren’t your own—but language barriers can make that difficult. Luckily, you have technology on your side. The Pulomi Easy Trans Smart Language Translator Device boasts a compact design and superior voice translation capabilities: simply push the button on the device and hold it down until you’ve finished speaking, and it will recognize what you say and translate your words aloud. The language translator supports 52 languages, and it can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker. For travelers who aren’t multilingual (yet!), but want to be able to effortlessly communicate with locals, the Pulomi Easy Trans Smart Language Translator will help you sound savvy.
Best Budget: Franklin TWE-118 5-Language European Translator
You don’t necessarily have to break out big bucks to be able to afford a decent digital translator. The Franklin TWE-118 5-Language European Translator contains over 210,000 total translations, and it translates to and from English and other common languages like Spanish, French, German, and Italian. And it doesn’t stop there; although the TWE-118 is primarily a language translator, it can also correct spelling errors, convert currencies from the USD to the Euro (as well as 11 other national European currencies), and help you determine the proper tip to leave at dinner with the built-in calculator. Additional features include two built-in games, a metric converter, and a local/world clock. Considering the price, this Franklin translator device is a steal.
Best for Learning Spanish: ECTACO Partner 900 PRO Spanish
Prepping for a trip to Spain, Mexico, Argentina, or another country where Spanish is the local language? The ECTACO Partner 900 PRO Spanish offers a slew of useful translation features. All you have to do is speak (or text) into the device and it immediately translates what you're saying, which is mighty helpful when you’re traveling and need to be able to communicate on the fly. This handy translator device even has a hi-resolution camera with its Photo Translator program. Best of all, it’s also the perfect tool for actually learning Spanish before or during your trip, since it comes with a Language Teacher program that will correct you via its advanced speech analysis system. Plus, you can use the Linguistic Crosswords feature and learn new words while you play.
Best for Images: Sauleoo Language Translator Device
Digital translators can be useful for translating images as well as verbal cues. The Sauleoo Language Translator features a camera that can be used to capture street signs and airport gates for translation in 47 different languages. This two-way language translator can also be used verbally with 137 languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese. Its offline function can translate German, Dutch, Korean, Spanish, and more languages when you're not connected to WiFi. This lightweight translator can easily fit in your pocket and has a battery life of four to eight hours when in use.
Best for Translating Chinese: Birgus Language Two-Way Voice Translator
If you’re heading to China, it’s worth investing in the Birgus Language Two-Way Voice Translator. This supremely helpful device offers an online two-way translation with just the click of a few buttons, and the accuracy rate is as high as 98 percent (it’s basically as close to having a human translator as it’s going to get). In addition to Chinese, it supports seven other offline languages. The translator also supports 44 languages with its camera for online photo translation. And, you can use its recording feature to save as many phrases and words as you want. This translator device is also extremely user-friendly, with its 2.4-inch color touchscreen and sleek, lightweight design.
Best for Translating Japanese: Pocketalk Language Translator Device
The Pocketalk allows for lightning-fast communication and will help you shop, dine, and navigate your way throughout Japan. In fact, this sleekly designed two-way voice translator is the best-selling translator device in Japan. Small enough to fit in your pocket (hence the name), the Pocketalk can translate up to 74 languages, including Japanese. Equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, a large touchscreen, noise-canceling dual microphones, and powerful dual speakers, this language translator is the ideal travel companion for those who want to immerse themselves more fully in a foreign land.
Best for Translating Spanish: Ili Wearable Translator
Get ready to have full-blown conversations in Spanish with the Ili Wearable Translator. This small, hand-held language translator has three buttons, including the power button — to translate, you hold the big button down to have the device listen and automatically translate, and tapping it again will repeat the phrase. The third button repeats back what you said (in Ili’s voice), and if you hold the button down, it switches between Spanish and English (the device also offers Japanese and Mandarin). This is as close to real-time translation as is technologically possible. The Ili is ultra-portable and wearable, and it even works without an internet connection.
Best for Translating French: Buoth T9 Real Time Translation Device
You’ll be eating croissants in cafes and conversing with French locals in no time when you bring the Buoth T9 Real Time Translation Device along with you on your travels to France. In addition to voice translations, the Buoth device is also a word translator — the camera supports 44 languages for seamless photo translation. Conveniently, whatever you speak will also translate on the screen (which provides a great way to actually learn the language). You can also use this device to record your words; English can be translated into French and other languages of your choice.
Best for Translating German: WT2 Language Translator
You'll adapt easily to German culture with the digital translator from WT2. Unlike traditional handheld digital translators, this version consists of earbuds that provide translations directly into your ear rather than over a speaker. It features three different modes: Simul Mode, Touch Mode, and Speaker Mode. The Simul mode allows two people to wear one earpiece each. Start speaking to each other and the earbuds will translate what your partner is saying. If you're in a noisy environment, simply use the Touch Mode to turn the device on and let it know you want something translated. The Speaker Mode gives translated responses through your phone. It's 95 percent accurate when translating German and can give responses in one to three seconds.
Best for Translating Russian: Langogo Pocket AI Translator
Seamlessly adapt to Russian culture with the Langogo Pocket AI Translator, which integrates 24 translation engines with its easy-to-use, one-button translation design. It ensures accurate translation even with different accents and dialects, which is undeniably helpful, considering how complex the Russian language is. Plus, the Langogo is more than just a mere translation tool — it’s a mobile hotspot device and intelligent voice assistant. When you’re traveling, this device can deliver useful information about local attractions, hotels, exchange rates, weather forecasts, and more.
What to Look for in an Electronic Translator
Language Some translators can handle any language you throw at them (or, at least, quite a lot of them); others are equipped to handle one language only, like Chinese or Spanish. Be aware that the do-it-all types might not have quite the vocabulary range of dedicated models, but if you’re jet setting all over, having a lot of the basics covered—versus buying a different translator for every language—might be ideal.
Cost Depending on how often you travel, you might want to weigh whether it’s better to splash out a bit more on a translator that has better voice recognition and vocabulary or grab a budget model that covers the basics for a one-off adventure.
Keyboard vs. voice input Think about how you’re likely going to use an electronic translator. If you’re primarily trying to translate conversations, a voice-input translator might be your best bet. Conversely, a keyboard-based model might limit you when it comes to figuring out what others are saying.