In many situations, using a digital interpreting or translation tool can be extremely helpful. For example, when doing voluntary work, for conversations on administrative topics or for short, unforeseen discussions. migesplus presents some tried and tested digital translation and interpreting tools. Note that none of these tools meet the quality standards provided by professional interpreters and translators. In practice, the translated output must be used carefully.
Microsoft’s free tool is our favourite for oral conversations. We find it good in translation quality and user experience.
• Many different languages
• Conversations possible in more than two languages. The language spoken is recognized automatically.
• The screen can be split, so that the other person can read along at the same time.
• Other people can take part in the conversation using their own smartphone.
• A dictionary with important terms and the possibility to add your own words.
• The translated text is read aloud by a digital voice. The reading speed can be made faster or slower.
• The output translation is written in large letters, so that the user usually needs to scroll down to read the translation.
• The software provides fewer languages than other apps.
• Microsoft Translator is only available as an app.
For written translation, other applications (e.g. DeepL) perform better.
This is a free service to translate individual words, sentences and whole websites into more than 100 languages. About 60 languages are also available for text translations offline.
The smartphone app is reliable for translating spoken conversations.
• User-friendly smartphone app
• Many different languages
• Discussions can be held using the Conversation function.
• Transcribing: spoken sentences are translated as text.
• The screen cannot be split. The telephone must be turned towards the other person each time.
• It is not possible to connect with the other person’s mobile phone.
• Images can be translated using the smartphone camera. For example, posters, flyers or documents.
• For written translation, other applications (e.g. DeepL) perform better.
Google Translate can also translate whole websites and display them in their original format. The translated website can then be shared as a link.
Hand-held devices are designed for this specific purpose. The quality of the translations is not perceptibly better than the apps presented here.
• It is possible to use them without an internet connection.
• Some devices provide a free worldwide internet connection through a built-in SIM card.
• These devices are quick and easy to use as there is no need to launch an app.
• Expensive to buy
• Unlike smartphones, the device might not always be to hand when needed.
DeepL is the best choice for translating texts. DeepL uses artificial intelligence to recognize nuance in language and translates with a high level of accuracy.
• High translation quality
• App, online and desktop versions available
• Translates PDF, MS Word and MS PowerPoint documents in their original format.
• DeepL can be used to chat over messaging services.
• Not available for all common language combinations
• Speech recognition available, but interpreting conversations is laborious.
• Limited features in the free version.