Mark Zuckerberg's impressive language skills have been getting some well-deserved praise. The Facebook founder surprised a group of students in Beijing this week by answering all their questions in fluent Mandarin, a language he's been studying since 2010.
For business travelers who have yet to master a foreign language, a smartphone can be the best tool to break the language barrier and avoid getting lost in translation. Below is a list of easy and intuitive translation apps.
1. iTranslate Voice
Offering both translation and dictionary services, iTranslate Voice allows travelers to say a phrase into the app and have the translation spoken back. The app's AirTranslate feature connects two users wirelessly so they can communicate in their native languages and conduct a real-time translated conversation.
2. iVoice Translator Pro
For situations in which you're trying to communicate with someone who does not have the iTranslate Voice app installed, iVoice Translator Pro acts as a double-sided translation service, allowing the other person to speak back to the app. Other apps share this capability, but iVoice has a more user-friendly interface for displaying these translated conversations.
3. Word Lens
One of the most popular visual translators, Word Lens can snap a photo of written text, menus, and street signs in a foreign country and translate them into the user's native language. Word Lens was recently acquired by Google for a planned integration into the Google Translate service. The app supports translations in English, Russian, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.
For business travelers who venture into Asia frequently, Waygo picks up where Word Lens leaves off. Waygo is the only app that offers instant visual translation of Chinese and Japanese characters, two increasingly important languages in global business today. The app will be offering Korean translation support in the coming weeks.
5. iStone Travel Translation
For times when it's more effective to use local colloquialisms rather than a direct translation, the iStone Travel Translation app includes a database of more than 300 daily phrases in a wide variety of languages.