iTranslate Plus is no Universal Translator, but it's Pretty Good

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itranslate plus iphone appiTranslate Plus, from Outer Space Apps, enables you to translate text between 2 of 35 languages. It’s not as capable as the Universal Translator so often used on Star Trek (there’s no Romulan or Klingon, for example) but it works fine for humans, as far as I can tell.

I know French pretty well, some conversational German, and a few words in Spanish, so I focused my review on translating among those languages and English. Just how good of a job iTranslate Plus does with Arabic, Bulgarian, Greek, Latvian, Swedish or other languages stored in iTranslate Plus, I have no idea. If you encounter a problem with, say, translating English to Tagalog, and you wind up in jail, don’t blame me.

iTranslate Plus gets it’s translation capability comes from Google Translate, and the developer warns you that there may be words it will not translate correctly. It seemed fine for simple, conversational talk.

Google fed a computer billions of words of text and then asked humans to translate key words and phrases and then followed up with statistical learning techniques to match them up. In other words, pun intended, Google relied on humans to translate key words and phrases and then used a machine to find patterns that align with those words. It’s faster than human-to-human translation, but not as accurate.

Once iTranslate Plus does its magic, you can save your translations or email them.

The user interface is clean and easy to use. There are scroll wheels to select the languages that you would like to translate between. Enter text in one language as your source and it will appear as text in the target language. A tap of a button will switch the target to the source.

Your options include auto-correction and font size adjustment from 12 to 30 points (you need to restart iTranslate Plus for the changes to take effect).

It worked without a hitch, using the phrases I entered. I can’t say much beyond that (I don’t know, as I’ve explained).

The problem with iTranslate Plus is that although it will translate between languages, you still might not be able to speak them, because it does not parse words or phrases phonetically. Given all the languages it can handle—with more on the way—I can live with that until something more capable comes along, like the Universal Translator.

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This app is not currently available in the App Store.

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  • Allen

    I find myTranslate a better app because it has different Spanish dialects.