There are many language translation apps out there, as well as several websites that will do the same, but none of them take advantage of what the iPhone has to offer quite like Languages does. It makes the best of iOS to the point of it even looking like a native iOS app.
Languages takes advantage of the opportunities when you most want a quick translation – when you’re on the go. You can pull your iPhone out of your pocket or purse and get the answer within seconds. There are a few things it doesn’t do … yet, but the makers of the app are promising that these functions are coming soon.
Languages opens up with with a stylized menu that makes you think you’re opening up the native-to-Apple Books app. It features “books” on shelves in an attractive setting. The books tell you on the face which languages they support. It’s a completely visual app, despite supporting something text-oriented like languages. It’s what you expect, though, from an iOS app.
I opened up the Spanish/English book, the two languages most likely to be translated in the United States. I did a search for the word “technology,” and it brings up the English word plus its Spanish translation. You can see other English words below it and their translations as it is presented in a dictionary-type format in alphabetical order.
In the upper left corner is the Home button to take you back to the menu with different language books, and in the upper right is a button to choose the starting language. To search for “technology” before, I was starting from the English dictionary. To do the reverse and start from the Spanish dictionary, click on the flags in the upper right which will you switch you back and forth. I searched for “fácil,” and it brought up the English translation, “easy.”
While the first two “books,” Spanish/English and English/German, appear and can be accessed immediately, from the moment you first download the app, the other ten language books need to be downloaded. This is because each one takes up a big chunk of memory, so the app saves you from having a memory hog of languages you don’t, and probably never will, have an occasion to use. I do business with someone in Brazil whose native language is Portuguese, so I clicked on the arrow to download this book, and it warned me it would utilize another 16MB on my device.
Additionally, the app allows you to use the Voice function on your keyboard. If your iPhone is current enough and supports the Voice technology, you can activate the Voice button on the keyboard and speak the word you want translated instead. Again, this could be of great help when you’re actually on the go.
This brings up a question of whether phrases are included in this app or whether it’s just for single words. There are a some short, really common phrases that are included, and the Help Menu explains that the option to include even more of them is coming in a future upgrade, as well as word pronunciations and verb conjugations. Until then, it’s still a very useful app. While it won’t translate big paragraphs of text, it will do exactly what you need it to do while you’re on the go with your iPhone.