Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (2023)

What are the best voice translation apps for China travelers?Perhaps you’re not an omniglot who can speak multiple languages fluently. Maybe you’re a bit worried about traveling around China without speaking Chinese. Many of us have those feelings when we travel abroad and these are the best translation apps I recommend for travelers to China.

Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (1)

It’s important to note that I’m going to focus on here is specifically voice translation apps.

There are a number of great Chinese dictionary apps or apps that can help you translate Chinese menus or signs using your phone camera.

But that’s not what this is about.

The purpose of these apps is to allow you to speak English (or your native language) into your phone and have it immediatelytranslate and speak the Chinese phrase.

Conversely, a Chinese person could speak to you through your phone and the app will automatically translate English to you.

For tourist and business travelers, these voice translation apps can be a life-saver. As I’ve written before, it is possible to travel China without speaking Chinese, and this use of technology is a primary way to do so.

Important Note

Currently, all of these apps operate using an internet connection for voice translations. Offline mode only works for text-to-text translations. This means that if you want to effectively use a voice translator in China, you’ll need to make sure that you can use your phone on a Chinese network and if not, figure out how to get a Chinese SIM card.

I could inundate you with a list of 10-20 apps. Instead, we’re going to focus on these five popular apps that I’ve had experience using:

  • Baidu Translate App
  • Google Translate App
  • iTranslate App
  • Microsoft Translator App

Hopefully you’ll find one that works best for you. Enjoy!

Note: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may be compensated if you choose to use one of the services listed. I only recommend what I’ve personally used, and I appreciate your support!

Baidu Translate | Free & Recommended

The Baidu Translate app (available for iOS devices and Android) is honestly not my favorite voice translator app, but I list it here first for one reason…

…it’s a China-approved app.

What this means is that you won’t have any problems using the app within China. It isn’t blocked by Chinese censorship and it (probably) never will be.

The interface is very simple to understand even though a lot of it is in Chinese. Most people shouldn’t have a problem. Check out some of the screenshot examples below:

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Based on my experience, translations through Baidu Translate are fast and surprisingly accurate. In conversation mode (which you can see on the right above), I like how it uses a text message-style approach to chat history.

There are numerous features (or “mini-apps” as they call it) within the app, but since the app was designed for Chinese people to use, most of them won’t help you.

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For example, there’s a Phrase Book mini-app, but it only translates from Chinese to English/Japanese/Korean. There are no English to Chinese phrases.

Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (3)

Google Translate | The Best (but blocked)

By far one of the best and most accurate voice translation apps on the market today is Google Translate (available for iOS devices and Android).

There’s only one problem: it’s one of the many Google apps that is blocked in China.

This means that if you want to use Google Translate in China, you’ll need to use a VPN. I personally use ExpressVPN, which allows me to not only access Google Translate but also Instagram, Facebook and many other blocked apps in China.

Google offers voice and conversation translation, as well as the ability to star certain phrases that you want to save for later. Check out the Google Translate screenshots here:

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In addition to the voice translation functions, Google Translate offers a great handwriting function (to write in Chinese characters for translation) as well as a camera function.

Unfortunately, in my personal tests the camera function on this and most other apps didn’t work well.

There are a few apps on this list, including Google Translate, that offer an “offline mode” where you download a Chinese language pack. The only downside to this offline mode is that it only works with text, not voice. For voice translations, you’ll still need a network connection.

Google Pros

  • Easy-to-Use Save for later feature
  • Offline mode for text-to-text translation
  • Free download (no paid upgrade)

Google Cons

  • Blocked in China (unblock with ExpressVPN)
  • Translated conversation voice is very robotic
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Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (5)

Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (6)

iTranslate | Beautiful but Pricey

iTranslate is the voice translate app that has the best user experience by far of any others listed here. The only downside is that it’s not free.

As you can see in the screenshots below, the app offers both conversational voice translation as well as a helpful phrase guide with audio pronunciation.

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iTranslate functions like many of the other apps on this list, which means that you can type, speak or point your camera at text to get a translation.

For a truly voice-first experience, I recommend you check out the iTranslate Converse app. This app takes the ease of voice translation to a new level.

The idea is that you hold the phone upside-down like a microphone and just press the screen to talk. It automatically detects which language is being spoken and translates.

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If I were to give an award for design and ease-of-use on this list, Converse would win without question. It’s also one of the only apps that even has an Apple Watch app.

If you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy, you might want to invest in this app as a good voice translation for China.

iTranslate Pros

  • Super-fast translation with a pleasant voice
  • Offers an Apple Watch app
  • 7-day free trial option

iTranslate Cons

  • Full version costs money
  • Voice translation doesn’t work offline

Microsoft Translator | Free & Unblocked

Although similar to Google Translate, Microsoft Translator has one distinct advantage: it’s (currently) not blocked in China. This is part of what makes it a great voice translator for China.

The app itself is quite simple, but I like how it gives you the option to not only hear the translation but also see it in Chinese characters and pinyin.

Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (9)

Another feature that makes Microsoft Translator unique is the over-the-network conversation mode.

This means that if multiple phones all have Microsoft Translator, you can connect them with a code and have everybody join the same conversation.

Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (10)
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I can see how this might be useful for a multilingual team that needs to communicate easily. You can see the start page for both the over-the-network as well as the in-person conversation views in the screenshots above.

Microsoft Pros

  • Simultaneous voice, character and pinyin translation
  • In-person and network conversation mode
  • Free to use
  • Apple Watch app available

Microsoft Cons

  • Robotic translator voice
  • Offline language file (text to text only) is huge at 98MB

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Speak & Translate | Best Design but Pricey

Honestly, I hesitate to mention Speak & Translate, an additional option as a voice translator for China. It’s highly rated in the app store, however it doesn’t do anything better than all the other voice translation apps listed above.

You can see below that the user interface is colorful but a bit clunky.

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The app is only available for Apple iOS devices (sorry, Android users). It’s a freemium app, which means that you can use it for free (10 translations per day) with tons of ads and annoying popups.

Or you can pay for the full, add-free version.

Speak & Translate Pros

  • Excellent conversation scroll to see chat history
  • Option for robotic built-in voices (faster) or higher quality voices (slower)

Speak & Translate Cons

  • Annoying freemium model
  • No Android app available

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Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (14)

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Final Thoughts | Best Voice Translation Apps for China

In the end, my recommendations boil down to this:

  • Are you comfortable downloading a Chinese app? Go with Baidu Translate.
  • Do you already have a VPN (such as ExpressVPN)? Go with Google Translate.
  • Are you willing to pay for a quality user experience? Go with iTranslate Converse.
  • Do you need to have a team translation option? Go with Microsoft Translator.

Most of these apps operate in a similar way, so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any app in particular here.

They key is making sure you can use your phone in China on the network to use the voice-to-voice translation features.

Once you have that squared away, these apps make it super easy to make your way around China even if you can’t speak a single word of Chinese!

Best Voice Translation Apps for China Travelers & Expats in 2022 (15)

Further Reading & Resources

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Traveling or Moving to China Soon?

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FAQs

What is the best translator for 2022? ›

Top 5 Translation Apps
  • Google Translate. Probably the most well-known and widely used translation apps currently available, it is a simple and easy-to-use option for those looking for a quick solution to a language issue. ...
  • Microsoft Translator. ...
  • iTranslate. ...
  • SayHi. ...
  • TripLingo.
19 Apr 2022

Is there an app that translation Chinese to English? ›

Instant Character Translation (Winner): Waygo

It's a great piece of technology. The app is able to translate Chinese text in real-time, using a smartphone camera, into readable English.

Is there any apps that translate directly while speaking? ›

The Google Translate app can translate dozens of languages, either through text or voice. You just type, write, or speak into the app. The program even allows you to point your smartphone at a sign or menu written in a foreign language to view a live translation.

What is the most trustworthy translator? ›

And to help you choose the best service among the thousands, we have combed through the internet to bring you 8 of the best translation websites.
  1. Google Translate. ...
  2. Yandex Translate. ...
  3. Bing Translator. ...
  4. Reverso. ...
  5. Translatedict. ...
  6. MyMemory Translation. ...
  7. Babylon Translator. ...
  8. PROMT Online Translator.
24 Jan 2022

Is there an accurate Chinese translator? ›

SYSTRAN Chinese translation software is dependable and used by millions of people worldwide. SYSTRAN relies on accurate linguistics and specialized rich dictionaries built into the software to deliver the best Chinese translation quality.

Which Voice Translator is the best? ›

The Best Pocket Translators
  1. Pocketalk Two-Way Voice Translator (Model S) Pocketalk is one of the biggest names in pocket translators, and their new S model is probably the best all-around device. ...
  2. Langogo Genesis AI Translator. ...
  3. Cheetah CM Language Translator.
11 Mar 2021

What is the best speak and Translate app? ›

Top 10 Free Language Translation Apps for Android and iOS
  • Day Translations.
  • Speak & Translate.
  • Google Translate.
  • SayHi.
  • iTranslate.
  • TripLingo.
  • Microsoft Translator.
  • Naver Papago Translate.
13 Jun 2022

What is the best voice translation? ›

Top 10 Voice Translators for Travelers and Businessmen 2022
  1. Timekettle WT2 Plus AI Real-Time Translator Earbuds. ...
  2. PULOMI Two-Way Translator. ...
  3. OXSII T1 Handheld. ...
  4. Pocketalk Touchscreen Translator. ...
  5. Jarvison Language Translator. ...
  6. Birgus Smart Voice Translator. ...
  7. ASPIRING Instant Voice Translator. ...
  8. Vasco Translator Premium.
5 May 2020

How can iTranslate audio from Chinese to English? ›

Translate with a microphone
  1. Give your browser permission to use your microphone and check your microphone settings on your browser. ...
  2. On your computer, go to Google Translate.
  3. Choose the languages to translate to and from. ...
  4. At the bottom, click the Microphone .
  5. Speak the word or phrase you want to translate.

What is the best way to translate Chinese to English? ›

First, if you want to translate a text you can either copy-paste the text to Google Translate, to compare the Chinese writing to the English one, for example. You can also simply right-click on your mouse and press “translate”.

How do iTranslate a live conversation? ›

Open Google Translate. Tap the Conversation button in the lower-left corner of your screen. Tap the language heading above the lower-left microphone and then choose a source language. Tap the language heading above the lower-right microphone to choose a destination language.

What is the number one translator app? ›

Google Translate is one of the best all-round translation apps on the market. The app can detect more than 100 languages and provide offline translations to 59 languages. With their Word Lens feature, you can translate text on signs from 37 languages.

Is there a better translation app than Google? ›

DeepL is one of the best Google Translate alternatives for people who really value accuracy, especially when it comes to grasping context and local idioms. DeepL offers an API that you can use to automatically translate your website, as well as a web interface and apps to translate text content or text files (like .

What is the best universal translator? ›

Best Language Translation Devices in 2022
  • Best Overall: WT2 Language Translator. Wt2 Language Translator Lifestyle (Image credit: Amazon) ...
  • Best Pocket Translator: Pocketalk Language Translator. ...
  • Best Offline Translator: ili Instant Offline Translator. ...
  • Best Versatile Translator: Lincom Language Translator Device.
6 Dec 2021

Is DeepL good for Chinese? ›

The algorithms can now handle several thousand Chinese characters, as well as Japanese kanji, hiragana, and katakana. With this vast knowledge, DeepL Translator can now produce translations that use natural-sounding, context-appropriate language in two more of the world's most-used languages.

Is Google Translate accurate enough? ›

If you're using Google Translate for your translations, you'll probably be wondering if Google Translate is correct and whether you can trust Google Translate accuracy for your use case. Well, the short answer is this: Yes, Google Translate is very accurate for the most part. In some cases, it's 94%+ accurate!

Is DeepL better than Google Translate for Chinese? ›

For the languages that it supports, DeepL is regarded to be a bit more accurate than Google Translate. However, DeepL Translate has a limited language selection as compared to Google Translate and also costs more money.

What is the easiest translation app? ›

1. Google Translate. Let's kickstart the list with probably the most popular free translation app in the entire world – Google Translate. The application allows you to successfully translate 108 languages by typing a word, 95 when using handwriting, and 90 when you use your camera.

Is there a free speak and translate app? ›

Translator Speak and Translate Free (free) is a universal iOS app that translates spoken language bi-directionally in 66 languages. The app automatically detects the spoken language it hears and then provides translations.

Is there an app that can translate audio to English? ›

With VEED, translation of audio has never been simpler! VEED can translate your audio into over 100 languages - Chinese, Dutch, German, Spanish, American English, British English, and many more - the choice is yours!

What app translates all languages? ›

iTranslate is the leading translation and dictionary app. Easily translate text, websites, or start voice-to-voice conversations in over 100 languages.

How can I speak Chinese easily? ›

The best way to learn a language is through immersion. While it may not be possible for everyone to go to a Chinese-speaking community and immerse themselves full-time, you can immerse yourself from anywhere with Chinese movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts!

How can I improve my Chinese English speaking? ›

Some ways that a Chinese person can learn English include studying the language itself, using online tools to help with pronunciation and grammar, and collaborating with other students who are also learning English.

Is Google Translate good with Chinese? ›

CHINESE LANGUAGES

Hence the need for effective communication with them is more crucial than ever. In most multilingual situations, whether it's traveling, business purposes, or just a simple daily life conversation, people consider Google translate as the most reliable translation app.

What app is better than WeChat? ›

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is probably the biggest WeChat competitor, and is used by over 600 million people, all over the world. Easily import your contacts and invite anyone who isn't a WhatsApp user to start using it now. Type messages, make voice calls, or send photos, voice recordings, files, and videos!

What apps should I download before going to China? ›

We've compiled a list of 10 apps you must download before going to China.
  • VPN APP: access to blocked Internet. ...
  • Google Translate: break language barrier. ...
  • Pleco: Chinese dictionary app. ...
  • WeChat: more than a messaging app. ...
  • Alipay/WeChat Pay: pay for everything. ...
  • DiDi: taxi-haling service app. ...
  • Baidu.
19 May 2019

Is there a real time translator? ›

What is real-time translation? Real-time translation is the technology that can help you translate one language to another instantly. With the latest neural machine translation (NMT) platforms, two people can have a conversation in different languages with minimal delays or issues with accuracy.

Is there an automatic translator app? ›

Microsoft Translator is a free, personal translation app for more than 70 languages, to translate text, voice, conversations, camera photos and screenshots. You can even download languages for offline translation for free to use when you travel!

Is there an accurate translation app? ›

iTranslate is the leading translation and dictionary app. Easily translate text, websites, or start voice-to-voice conversations in over 100 languages.

Is duolingo accurate for Chinese? ›

Even though Duolingo might not be the best app to learn Chinese from scratch, it's still a good option if you want to review your knowledge of Chinese while having fun with games that are, for the most part, well designed. Also, if you wish to learn new characters about specific topics, Duolingo can help you do that.

What translators are better than Google? ›

List of 7 Best Google Translate alternatives for Language Conversion
  • Microsoft Translator.
  • iTranslate.
  • Linguee.
  • Babylon Translator.
  • Reverso Translation.
  • TripLingo Translator.
  • MemSource.

What translation app is better than Google? ›

DeepL is one of the best Google Translate alternatives for people who really value accuracy, especially when it comes to grasping context and local idioms. DeepL offers an API that you can use to automatically translate your website, as well as a web interface and apps to translate text content or text files (like .

How accurate is DeepL for Chinese? ›

In general, DeepL has a very good reputation for translation accuracy, especially when it comes to understanding context and creating more natural, human-sounding translations. You'll see this sentiment almost universally expressed when talking about DeepL translation accuracy.

How can I translate audio from Chinese to English? ›

Translate with a microphone
  1. Give your browser permission to use your microphone and check your microphone settings on your browser. ...
  2. On your computer, go to Google Translate.
  3. Choose the languages to translate to and from. ...
  4. At the bottom, click the Microphone .
  5. Speak the word or phrase you want to translate.

What is the best speak to translate app? ›

Microsoft Translator

If you're looking for an efficient and free translation app, Microsoft Translator is one of the top options. The application allows you to translate your words into more than 60 languages, no matter if you use your voice, keyboard, or camera.

What is the number one translation app? ›

Best translation apps of 2022
  • Best for everyday use: Google Translate.
  • Best for basic phrases: Microsoft Translator.
  • Best for conversation: Speak and Translate.
  • Best for regional dialects: SayHi.
  • Best for offline translation: iTranslate.
  • Best for cultural immersion: TripLingo.
  • Best for Asia travel: Waygo.
2 Sept 2022

What is the most translated app in the world? ›

Currently, the most translated website in the world is jw.org, the official page of Jehovah's Witnesses, which includes more than 1,030 languages, including indigenous languages.
...
What is the World's Most Translated Website?
The World's Most Translated Websites:
Jehovah Witnesses1.030 Languages
Apple125 Languages
Facebook101 Languages
2 more rows
1 Jul 2022

Why did China remove Duolingo? ›

Users in China found the Pittsburg-based app unavailable for downloads last August amid the country's sweeping education crackdown, including restrictions on for-profit afterschool tutoring.

Can you speak Chinese from Duolingo? ›

The world's most popular way to learn Chinese online

Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day with our game-like lessons. Whether you're a beginner starting with the basics or looking to practice your reading, writing, and speaking, Duolingo is scientifically proven to work.

Is Duolingo blocked in China? ›

Duolingo Inc., a Pittsburgh company that makes a popular language-learning app, was removed from some app stores in China, signaling the government's crackdown on for-profit education may be extending beyond the country's shores.

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