10 Apps Translators and Interpreters Must Download and Try | July 2014 | Translation Journal

July 2014 Issue

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10 Apps Translators and Interpreters Must Download and Try

10 Apps

Translators and interpreters lead hectic lives, often work in different locations and traveling from one client to the next. As a result they heavily rely on their phones to access vital information.

The explosion of available apps on the market is mind blowing! The Google Play store currently houses over one millions apps. Holy cow!
I have attempted to narrow down a list of the best apps for translators and interpreters with great difficulty. There are so many fantastic apps that make our life more productive, solve everyday issues and speed up how we do things. Here is a list of 10 apps I use often, if not daily. Some apps are designed to make translator’s lives more productive in their jobs and other apps listed are simply cool and indispensable. Nonetheless, I hope these apps might be useful to you and enhance your professional and personal life.

With so many fantastic apps, I actually have put together a comprehensive best list apps—currently containing 87. Next month, I will provide another list of 10 great apps. In the meantime, if you wish to see all 87 you can get the entire pdf by joining the email subscription-it is free. I welcome your feedback!

Google Hangouts


Google has replaced Talk with Google Hangouts. It is a web-based and mobile video service. Translators and interpreters can easily host a video meeting with up to 12 participants. All participants will need a Google+ account. For those camera shy, it is simple turn off the video to allow audio to stream through. Other features include text chat and sharing of pictures and videos. Just drop your image or share your message in Hangouts chat box, and your clients receive instantly. In iOS and Android Hangouts supports virtually every device and version. Another nice feature is the ability to use your front or rear-facing camera in your video chat at any time.

Google Drive


Translators create loads of files and need to access files from different locations. Google Drive app is an indispensable tool providing the ease to access files stored in the cloud. Google Drive makes it convenient to collaborate with colleagues on projects as it allows users to share files and save in the cloud or view offline. It's powerful office companion, letting you create, edit, quickly access recent files and spreadsheets, and presentations.



Evernote has been dubbed a digital filing cabinet. Translators and interpreters need to save and store heaps of information. Evernote is a brilliant app utilizing the save-it-for-later (or just in time) concept. The OCR feature is fantastic allowing searchable text in images. It is easy to get started and use and you can’t go wrong with little knowledge of how the app works. To take full advantage and be amazed by the capabilities head over to the Evernote website for some tutorials (evernote.com/getting_started/).



Flipboard app helps you stay on top of the news. The app acts as your virtual personal magazine allowing you to read RSS feeds and connect with social networks. Your interests are the front page. It is simply beautiful. Once you're all signed in, Flipboard presents you with an intuitive layout of your social networks and some default news categories to browse. Touching a panel lets you browse through the default categories. There's an enormous amount of content to choose and customize for your specific interests. Once you start using the app you will slap yourself for waiting this long!



When traveling between client assignments or working out at the gym or cooking and want to catch up on the news, use the app Umano and listen. Umano has an ever growing list of news articles from the world’s best publishers and bloggers narrated by professional voice-actors. Real people read long-form articles from sources such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and others. It’s like an audiobook of current events. The app’s design is simple and intuitive and great for commuting. You can download articles for listening offline, make playlists and personalize your interests. The only downside is that you can't listen to just one news source--but variety is the spice of life.



If you have not jumped on the Dropbox bandwagon… get on right now! Most translators work with mega-gig (nearly) files. Dropbox is an awesome service you can use to back up your files to the cloud, sync them between computers, and share with your clients and friends. Particularly useful for confidential information because Dropbox encrypts everything you upload/download over a secure HTTPS connection. It’s a great storage service with much more capabilities. Other uses include being able to print files from any computer, use it to quickly install Android apps, host a website and much more! The only problem is that if you love the service, the free storage is only 2GB which will max out quickly.



Tasker may be one of the most powerful productivity apps available. For translators and interpreters, this app can be an incredible tool to turn your smartphone into a fully automated superphone. How it works is you can script actions for your phone to perform when specific conditions are met. Choose from 200+ actions! Tasks include LED flash when you receive a text message, dim your phones brightness at specific times of day or read text in the car. Create home screen buttons with standard text “on-the-way-home” or “at-home” or variable caller ID rings. Too many to list here. Give it a try but if you wish to use it to the fullest-- be prepared to spend the time to learn.



In the those times when you need to define a word and unable to connect to the internet the Dictionary app is a lifesaver. It’s a free English dictionary with over 2,000,000 definitions and synonyms from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com. If your native language is not English and need help with pronunciation-even non-natives need help- - the audio pronunciations is superb. The app is also splendid for finding idioms, word origin and history and spelling suggestions and search by voice. If you are a specialized legal or medical translator, the Dictionary offers extensive medical, legal and financial definitions, as well as acronyms and slang content. Premium version is ad-free with example sentences plus more!



The Snapseed app is a tool to transform your ordinary photos into extraordinary. With just a little bit of a learning curve to use the incredible features, you can tweak your photos to perfection. Edit photos using a gesture-based swipe method. This app straddles the line between full-fledged image editor and filter app giving you the control over how filters (examples: Drama, Vintage and Tilt-Shift) and effects are applied to your images including borders and finishing touches.

Swift Keyboard


Do you have a need for speed? Take the hard work out of touchscreen typing with this impressive keyboard replacement. As you type, Swiftkey suggests whole words that it thinks is the most likely next word. Almost like mind reading. Words get inserted effortlessly with a tap. This app will help you type faster and easier. It has a nice writing interface and is personalized and provides an accurate autocorrect. It is also available in 61 languages! If your default phone touchscreen keyboard is crappy--as most are--give SwiftKey Keyboard app a try. You will be impressed.

I welcome your feedback on apps you find indispensable.

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