Speak to the world with iTranslate

By Pete Davison Comment

iTranslate is an iOS app from Sonico GmbH. It’s now on its sixth major version update, and is enjoying a feature spot in the What’s Hot section of the App Store.

iTranslate is a simple to use but powerful translation app that allows its users to type in source words or phrases in the top on-screen box, then have them translated into a variety of different languages at the bottom of the screen — including those with non-Roman alphabets such as Japanese. The user may either specify the source language or allow the app to auto-detect it. As with most translation apps, iTranslate requires Internet access to function, but copes well when working over a cellular connection rather than Wi-Fi.

When the text has been translated, users have the option of getting the app to read it out with some impressive, very natural-sounding text-to-speech. In most cases, users have the option of hearing the translation in either a male or female voice, and in some cases have the option of hearing the words read in several different accents — for example, when translating to Spanish, the option is available for the voice to be read by either a native Spanish speaker or one from Mexico or the United States.

The app works well and has impressive functionality in its free incarnation, but signing up for the app’s Premium service offers additional benefits. Features on offer to Premium subscribers include voice recognition, a wider variety of voices to choose from for the text-to-speech facility, the removal of advertising, the ability to have non-Roman languages spelled out phonetically and the ability to translate texts of up to 5,000 characters. Users may either subscribe for 3 months for $0.99 or a year for $2.99 — though these prices are set to rise soon. The app uses either Facebook Connect or a proprietary account to ensure that users’ subscription status is not lost when moving between devices, though it also incorporates a standard iTunes “Restore Purchases” option, too. The subscription in-app purchases do not auto-renew, so the user must manually pay for the Premium service again when their currently-running period expires.

iTranslate is a solid, easy to use app that will be indispensable to those who do a lot of travelling or dealing with people who speak different languages. The app supports a wide variety of languages even in its free incarnation, and the addition of the text-to-speech functionality means that it can be used as a means of communication as well as textual translation. The only slight issue with the whole package is the reliance on Internet connectivity — not always easy to ensure access to when abroad — but this is probably better than bloating the app with huge data files that might not be used much by those who only have requirements for specific language support. The option to “cache” specific language support — perhaps as a Premium option — would be a welcome addition, but for now this is still an excellent app that deserves a place on everyone’s iPhone.

iTranslate is currently ranked at No. 280 in Top Free Apps, No. 8 in Top Free Productivity Apps and No. 21 in Top Grossing Productivity Apps. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.