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Must-have travel apps
Essential smartphone add-ons for the traveller Discuss this article
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Now this is real sci-fi stuff – an app that instantly translates foreign text via your phone’s camera. Though the download itself costs nothing and comes bundled with a couple of demo settings, you’ll need to shell out Dhs41 (via in-app purchase) for one of the language packs, with English and French currently on offer. A tad pricey, but worth it purely for the amazed expressions of awe you’ll draw from bystanders.
Available on iPhone (free) and iPad (free).
Better Translator Pro
The best-rated translation app on Android, and for good reason. More than 50 languages are supported in text-to-text mode, while an impressive 11 work with the app’s voice recognition function. As for accuracy, it’s plugged in to both Google and Bing’s translation services, meaning results are very rarely nonsensical. Don’t expect to be bantering the night away with the natives or anything, but it ought to at least mean the end of ineptly miming ‘ou est la gare?’
Available on Android (Dhs11).
Remember postcards? Those rectangular, papery things you used to use to scrawl down tales of your far-flung travels back before the world went digital? This app-print-service allows you to hark back to the analogue era by creating and sending physical cards bearing your own travel snaps and text to anywhere in the world, for a thoroughly reasonable Dhs8.70 a pop.
Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free) and Android (free).
Lost in Translation
There are plenty of translation apps knocking around for Windows handsets, but this well-put-together freebie is – until voice recognition comes along, at least – the only one you’re likely to need. There are 36 languages currently supported, plus a useful function that allows you to quickly and easily forward translations as texts or emails. Invaluable.
Available on Windows Phone (free).
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