Being able to communicate with the locals while travelling can make or break a holiday. Thanks to the many innovative new technologies that have appeared over the past few years, learning the basics of a language or brushing up your language skills can now be easily and comfortably done from your smartphone. Here’s a review of the most useful language learning applications for mobile devices.
1- Brainscape (iOS)
Brainscape aims to be more than just a useful travel application, as its platform has been built around language learning methodologies that reduce study time and focus only on concepts that are relevant to the learners. Some satisfied Brainscape users claim that this application has helped them learn a language up to four times faster than others.
For the time being, Brainscape is available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and German. Users can create their own flashcards, which are split into vocabulary, verbs, sentence builder, and business terms. These come with handy grammar and cultural explanations in the user’s mother tongue and with real pronunciation examples.
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2- Anki (Android)
Anki is the Android version of Brainscape (although there is also a paid iPhone version available), as it is based on the same methodological concepts and consists of intelligent flashcards. This app is geared towards the needs of beginners or lower-intermediate language learners, and it focuses on vocabulary acquisition before building up commonly used sentences. Anki is a great resource for learners of the major Asian and European languages.
3- TripLingo (iOS)
Launched in 2011, TripLingo has already been awarded the 2012 Global Business Travel Association Award as the best travel innovation of the year. This application allows users to customise their language learning preferences and to choose among several useful travel topics (including eating out, shopping, and sightseeing), around which you can build up your own phrase lists. TripLingo will remember your learning sessions and your progress so you don’t have to waste time going over sets of phrase lists and flashcards that you already know. The app also features a comprehensive dictionary, work banks, pronunciation tips, and cultural notes.
Another useful feature of this app is its Slang Slider, which focuses on real spoken language and gives users multiple options when it comes to speaking just like a local, depending on the language variety spoken in each country (this comes in particularly handy with languages like Spanish and English due to their regional variations). TripLingo is available in 10 languages.
4- SayHi (iOS)
SayHi is the perfect app for those who need a fast and reliable translation tool. The application features voice recognition so that you can speak into your phone and get an immediate translation into the target language (there are 40 languages and dialects available). Speech can also be transformed into text, and the application allows you to save words and sentences into a “favourites” list.
5- Hello Hello (iOS, Blackberry, and Android)
This is a well-rounded travel application that can help you communicate in 11 languages, from Russian to Indonesian. The application includes a dictionary of common words, customisable flashcards, reading and writing lessons, listening exercises, grammar tips, pronunciation training, and games. Another interesting feature is the possibility of posting questions and have them answered by native speakers.
6- Duolingo (iOS)
Duolingo makes the most of the interactive properties of your iPhone and offers lots of exercises, pictures, and audio files to help you learn English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, or Italian while having fun. This app is free and highly entertaining, however users need to be connected to the Internet in order to access it, although this does not have to be an issue if you already have other language learning apps that work offline.
From translation of individual words to full conversations, language learning applications are a must for any savvy traveller, and can make your life easier in many situations. Next time you are off on a trip, remember to load your smartphone or tablet with your favourite apps for a smooth and hassle-free holiday abroad.
Steve is a keen traveller who has been travelling around the globe on an open ended round the world ticket for the last year.
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This article is contributed by Steve and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of www.cyberockk.com, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,