The 9 Best Electronic Translators of 2021

These devices will help you communicate with ease

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TRIPSAVVY-best-electronic-translators

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: Pulomi Easy Trans Smart Language Translator Device at Amazon

"It boasts a compact design and superior voice translation capabilities."

Best Budget: Franklin TWE-118 5-Language European Translator at Amazon

"Not only does this translate, but it corrects spelling errors, converts currencies, and has a built-in calculator."

Best for Images: Sauleoo Language Translator Device at Amazon

"It also 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

"The translator offers an online two-way translation with a high accuracy rate."

Best for Translating Japanese: Pocketalk Language Translator Device at Best Buy

"In addition to lightning-fast communication, it helps you shop, dine, and navigate."

Best for Translating French: Buoth T9 Real Time Translation Device at Amazon

"Whatever you speak, the device will translate on screen."

Best for Translating Spanish: CM Smart Instant Language Translator Device at Amazon

"The device isn't just small and sleek, the impressive battery life just can't be beat."

Best for Translating German: WT2 Language Translator at Amazon

"It conveniently consists of earbuds that provide translations directly into your ear rather than over a speaker."

Best for Translating Russian: Kansing Language Translator Device at Amazon

"This is especially useful for translating signs and it even saves up to an hour of voice memos."

Taking an international trip is a joyful, exciting experience, but the language barrier can create some major anxiety. Even if you know a few basis phrases, you'll want to communicate on a deeper level and that's where an electronic translator can come in handy. From asking for directions to ordering a meal and so much more, these handy devices will certainly be useful. Also, some of them can even translate street signs.

A handy device like this can range in cost, with many quality translators costing a few hundred dollars. In addition to price, other important factors include portability and battery life. Some translators have up to eight hours of use, which will really be useful while you're on the go. Also, be mindful of how the translators actually work, as some have keyboards and others only have a speak function that can help with pronunciation.

Here are the best electronic translators.

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 more than 50 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.

Size: 6.97 x 4.53 x 1.46 in. | Weight: .32 oz. | Battery Life: 24 hours | Languages: 52 | Keyboard: No

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.

Size: 4.25 x 2.75 x .62 in. | Weight: 5.6 oz.| Languages: 5 | Keyboard: Yes

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 different languages. This two-way language translator can also be used verbally with 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 solid battery life.

Size: 5.16 x 1.97 x .51 in. | Weight: 8.1 oz. | Battery Life: 6 hours | Languages: 137 | Keyboard: No

Best for Translating Chinese: Birgus Language Two-Way Voice Translator

Birgus Language Translator Device

Amazon

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 more than 100 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.

Size: 5.7 x 3.4 x 1.6 in. | Weight: 8.3 oz. | Battery Life: 8 hours | Languages: 106 | Keyboard: No

Best for Translating Japanese: Pocketalk Language Translator Device

Sourcenext Pocketalk Classic Language Translator

Best Buy

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 a best-selling translator device in Japan. Small enough to fit in your pocket (hence the name), the Pocketalk can translate more than 80 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.

Size: 4.3 x 2.4 x .6 in. | Weight: 3.5 oz. | Battery Life: 7 hours | Languages: 82 | Keyboard: No

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.

Size: 5.4 x 3.4 x 1.7 in. | Weight: 2.82 oz. | Battery Life: 8 hours | Languages: 106 | Keyboard: No

Best for Translating Spanish: CM Smart Instant Language Translator Device

Get ready to have full-blown conversations in Spanish with this sleek translator that comes in black, white, or black with silver trim. Though it's small and lightweight (1.3 ounces), it packs a punch. The device translates more than 40 languages and the battery life is also superior. The standby time is up to 180 days or 24 hours of constant use. This is certainly the translator you want for a full day of exploring without having to worry about a low battery. Just press a single button and the voice translation begins automatically, either using data or connecting to the app via wifi.

Size: 5.25 x 1.25 x 0.3 in. | Weight: 1.3 oz. | Battery Life: 24 hours | Languages: 42 | Keyboard: No

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.

Size: 7.4 x 2 x 4.2 in. | Weight: 10.6 oz. | Languages: 40 | Keyboard: No

Best for Translating Russian: Kansing Language Translator Device

Kansing's device does a lot, especially if you find yourself needing to translate signs or photos. It's easy to upload a pic (street sign, menu, etc.) and more than 40 languages, including Russian, are supported. Overall the device translates 107 languages using the voice function. There's even enough space on the device to hold 60 minutes worth of voice notes for any words or phrases you might want to recall often. The battery life can last up to 12 hours, which works well for the average traveler who may be out for a few hours sightseeing or engaging with locals.

Size: 6.3 x 3.5 x 1.97 in. | Weight: 8.5 oz. | Battery Life: 12 hours | Languages: 107 | Keyboard: No

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.

Battery Life

The last thing you want is a translator's battery dying on you while in a country where you don't speak the language. Some translators don't list the device's battery life, but for those that do, opt for one with at least six hours worth of juice when fully charged.

FAQs

How should electronic translators be used?

Many travelers prefer translators that use voice-input and the speech recognition translates the spoken words to the desired language. Some of these devices even store important phrases. Other translators utilize a keyboard and you type in a word or phrase and read the translation.

Do electronic translators need data to operate?

Translators can work in a few ways with some requiring data. Higher end translators come with built-in data for a time period and others need to be connected to wifi or a hotspot to properly work.

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