Concerned about communicating in Japan? Make your travels in Japan as smooth and hassle-free as possible with a translation app. Discover the translation apps we’ve tested in real life and find out which ones actually work with our in-depth guide. One of the most intimidating things about traveling somewhere new like Japan used to be language barriers – being unable to communicate your needs and wants to people, or indeed understand anything they were saying to you. Fortunately, you won’t need to slip Douglas Adams’ small, yellow, leech-like Babel Fish into your ear to understand what anyone’s saying on your travels. Instead, you can use today’s modern equivalent on your smartphone to communicate with locals: a translation app. In this guide, we show you some of the best translation apps out there for traveling in Japan. By ‘best’ we mean useful and practical – translation apps are never 100% accurate, but they’re fantastic for breaking down those language barriers.
I took six translation apps out into the Tokyo wilderness for a spin. These were downloaded from the App Store on an iPhone, though some of these will also be available on Android. I’ve noted wherever this is the case.