Pros: Vast language options within app's database; Includes auto-detect mode for language input; Offers dictionaries to help define translations
Cons: Free version includes ads; Best features are blocked unless you pay the one-time fee ($2.99)
Verdict: Offering spoken translations and accurate voice recognition, iTranslate packs a ton of desirable features into a handy app.
One of the most popular apps on both iOS and Android, iTranslate offers translations for more than 50 languages and phrases and also leverages Nuance's voice recognition technology.
iTranslate includes voice recognition for 16 languages and verbal translation for 23 voices. The app also offers dictionaries with additional translation results, landscape mode, the option to dig into your translation history and (like Google Translate) an auto-detect mode for language input.
iTranslate benefits from an intuitive design and a high level of accuracy, and we're glad that it uses voices that sound more human than robotic. We set the app to translate between English and Finnish and inputted the phrase, "Where is the Nokia workplace?" It spoke back: "Missä on Nokia työpaikan?" On the other hand, the app has one big minus: The free version includes ads, and it blocks voice recognition features unless you pay a one-time fee ($.99).
The app uses two fields for translating text, one for input and one for output. We swiped across the input field (the box on the top portion of the screen) to automatically paste text from our clipboard. This was particularly handy when we needed to translate text that we'd previously copied from our messages.
All other elements within the app were clearly marked with appropriate icons or labels. For the languages supported, iTranslate includes a microphone for voice recognition and a conversation mode on the input field, toward the top right and bottom right corners respectively. Between the two fields, two labels designate the two languages you intend to translate between. An icon between the languages lets you switch input and output with one tap.
The bottom field iTranslate presents translated text. When available, a speakerphone button appears, which instructs the app to speak the text within the field aloud. We tilted our phone to landscape mode to use full-screen mode and show off the translation in larger text so those near us could read it easily. The app also let us save, copy or share our translation via an icon on the bottom right of the output field.
Two icons sit on the bottom edge of the app, on opposite corners. The star on the left side gave us access to our full translation history, and let us pick our favorite phrases as well as file them into categories. Settings, accessed by tapping on the bottom right icon, let us pick voices, tweak the translation speed and sample these different attributes until we were satisfied.
We appreciated the app's fast and accurate translation, and thought the user interface made everything easier to use. Ultimately, however, we grew tired of the ads and the frequent blocks when we tried to access paid features.
Offering landscape mode, translation history, auto-detect input, spoken translations and voice recognition, iTranslate packs a ton of desirable features and uses a highly intuitive interface. However, you're better off paying $.99 to turn off the ads and access all of the features.