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Top 3 translator apps to use when travelling in Africa

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Mobile Phones
A smartphone comes in handy at those times as it can be the best tool to break the language barrier with convenient and intuitive translation apps.

The English language is the most spoken language in Nigeria; however, learning a new language is not easy. It can take years of practice to become fluent but sometimes you need the knowledge of a foreign language to help you make the next career move or survive in a new country.

A smartphone comes in handy at those times as it can be the best tool to break the language barrier with convenient and intuitive translation apps. These apps make rendering on the go fast and easy and help bridge communication gaps. has put together the top 3 language translator apps that can help you understand what’s going on and reduce the chances of you getting flummoxed on your next trip.

Google Translate
Whether you want to figure out a menu, sign or basic conversation, the Google Translate app comes in extra handy.  The browser-based translation tool has been a front-runner for years, and the apps are useful to travelers all over the world.

A free app that supports about 90 languages, you should be able to travel almost anywhere and make your way around quite easily. The app offers you 4 ways to enter in a word or phrase: typing it in, voicing it out, taking a picture of it or drawing it on the screen.

The Visual translation function whose feature currently supports 6 languages, including French, Italian and Russian, works without internet, allows you to point your smartphone camera at some text and an instant English translation appears on-screen with road signs, pictures and menus too.

Another feature -The Simultaneous Speech- allows you to just tap on the mic symbol and Google automatically translates whatever it hears into your preferred language.

It is very easy to toggle between languages on this app and you can even save the translations that you use often. You might be faced with certain challenges such as minor mistakes with full sentences and complications with copying and pasting textS from other websites or texts, but in all, this app is extremely helpful.

The app is available on Android and IOS.

A free app available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone, iTranslate offers both translation and dictionary services in 80 languages. While it is not as sophisticated as the google translate, it is a very handy app as its interface is clear and simple and so it is very easy and quick to use. You can either input by typing in the words you want to translate or speaking into the app.

The voice feature allows travelers to say a phrase into the app and have the translation spoken back. It even speaks the pronunciation of the language back to you in some languages including Chinese, Polish and Turkish. Sometimes spelling can be tricky so the app works to predict what you are trying to type as well. The app’s AirTranslate feature links two users wirelessly so they can connect in their native languages and have a real-time translated conversation.

While there are certain hitches with using this app, including difficulty in writing symbols, distracting ads that keep popping up, and the need for internet connection to access the voice feature, some of its winning attributes include the ability to share translations through text, email or social media and the ease of toggling between many different languages.

The app is available on Android and IOS.

If you know you will not be getting internet connection and you are looking for a fully-offline translation app, Jibbigo is a great choice! A mobile language translation application that supports over 20 languages through downloadable packs, Jibbigo allows you to pick a language, pair, speak, or type and edit the phrase that needs translating.

Built with a simple interface, it is easy to use. All you need to do is hold down the red ‘record’ button by the flag of the language you speak,  say a brief phrase and release the red recording button when done. The phrase will be automatically translated and a written sentence will appear in both the initial and the target language.

Selected as one of Travel and Leisure’s “Best Travel Apps” of 2010, it has an adaptation mode enabling it to ‘learn’ your voice for personalized translation. It also offers fast, bidirectional language translation on newer Apple devices.

While Jibbigo does not have any elaborate innovative features, its offline support and a free price tag makes it a treasured app for shrewd international travelers.

The app is available on Android and iOS.

Contributed by Nkem Ndem Vivienne, Travel/Technology Writer,

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