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The best apps for translating text on iOS

Looking for the best apps too translate text on iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch? Whether you need to translate a text message, website, street sign, or menu, we’ve found some great apps for translating text, speech, and the world around you.

Google Translate’s augmented reality feature, Word Lens, now works with Japanese

In addition to updating the Popular Times feature in Google Maps for iPhone and iPad with real-time data, the search giant also issued another noteworthy update, this one concerning its dedicated Translate app on App Store. Bumped to version 5.5, the free download can now translate photos of signs, menus and similar items from Japanese to English, and vice versa. That’s because its augmented reality feature, called Word Lens, has been updated to recognize Japanese content on photos and video.

Google Translate app gains offline mode, instant camera translation from Chinese and more

Google’s native Translate application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad received a major update yesterday in the App Store, bringing version number to 5.0 and introducing some rather interesting advances. For starters, Google Translate now works without an Internet connection, allowing you to translate words, phrases and sentences in 52 of the 103 supported languages when there is no cellular or Wi-Fi connection available.

The instant camera translation feature, called Word Lens, now works with Chinese: it reads both to and from English, both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. This feature is ideal for traveling: you just point your camera at, say, a restaurant sign in a foreign language and witness the appropriate translation appear like magic in live video feed.

Google Translate gains Split View multitasking

Google’s native translator app in the App Store has received a productivity-focused update earlier this morning. The free of charge software was bumped to version 4.2 and the big news in this edition is support for iOS 9’s side-by-side Split View multitasking mode on supported devices like the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and the upcoming iPad Pro.

In addition to Split View multitasking, Google Translate 4.2 for iOS has picked up camera translation from German and English to Arabic, joining other language packs.

Review: iTranslate 9.0 is the closest thing yet to the killer Apple Watch app

Now that the watchOS 2 software update has released to the general public, a healthy debate is developing amongst my techie friends about the benefits that native apps are supposed to enable.

The long story short, native apps run directly on the device and talk to its underlying hardware and sensors so most tasks should feel faster and smoother than before.

For instance, apps can now play sounds through the Apple Watch’s speakerphone and take voice input from its built-in mic. To test how this works in the real world, I’ve spent a few hours with iTranslate by Sonico Mobile GmbH, arguably the best translator app you can put on your wrist to overcome language barriers, Star Trek-style.

Microsoft Translator hits iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch with support for 50 languages

If you’re traveling frequently or have a need to translate anything in your daily life, Microsoft is here to help. The software giant’s new release, an app called Microsoft Translator, helps you translate words, phrases and sentences directly on your wrist.

Powered by the same technology used by Office, Bing, Skype, Internet Explorer as well as partners such as Twitter, Yelp, eBay, WeChat and many more, the app lets you speak to your Apple Watch and get an instant translation in a total of fifty languages.

Microsoft Translator is also supported on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and is available at no charge in the App Store.

Bing’s iOS apps get a facelift, translate extension now available on iPad

Microsoft’s mobile Bing apps for the iPhone and iPad are getting a major makeover today, with the translate extension that debuted in the iPhone app two months ago at last available on iPads.

On the iPhone, you can now tap anywhere underneath the search box to check out Bing’s image of the day in uncluttered full-screen view. You can also swipe from the left to see yesterday’s image of the day.

Another handy addition: weather information, trending news and images of the day zoom to full screen smoothly when swiping from the bottom of Bing’s Home screen.