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Top Speech-to-Speech Translation Apps — What’s New?

A year ago, we wrote a post about the best speech-to-speech translation apps as of 2017. Even though the same giants still dominate the market: who would imagine the modern world without, for example, Google Translate or Baidu in the East — the market landscape is changing with new products and trends emerging and they are worth mentioning.

Google Assistant

We cannot call Google Assistant just a translation app, of course, but, among other functionalities, it may be used as such. Based on Google Translate, it is another way to quickly and easily launch multilingual interpreting services. The biggest con so far is that to translate text, the assistant requires Internet connection.

Speak & Translate

This app was not born last year, but recently it has surfaces as a important player on the translation apps market. It boasts impressive accuracy of full languages for a range of the most popular languages as well as speech-to-text and text-only support for additional languages that are less common. Its biggest cons are the need of an Internet connection or data to work and its availability only for Apple devices and on the subscription basis.

Translate Voice Translator

One of the most highly praised translations apps, this free app offers 80 input languages and 44 output languages for immediate voice translation. Among other useful services, it corrects spelling, suggests the correct word, preserves the translations history and shares texts directly to other applications. Main con: featuring a robust speech recognition engine, the app has a weaker translation module for a variety of languages.


Though voice translation apps have improved over the past year to cover more languages and ensure more accurate speech recognition and translation, the clear trend is to use wearables — specialized devices providing real-time translations.

Google Pixel Buds

In late 2017, Google presented their first earbud headphones packed the power of Google Translate. However, it turned out that the real-time translation was only available when using Pixel Buds with a Pixel phone. Besides, they could not work without a data connection.

Now, finally, the concept has changed to cover more devices, virtually, all Assistant-optimized headphones and Android phones. At present when your Google Assistant-enabled headphones and phone are paired with each other, you can simply say “Help me interpret Spanish” or any other of the supported languages, and you will hear translations and respond to them on your headphones while holding out your phone to the person you’re talking to.

Real-time translation is available in 40 languages on the Google Buds support page, but only 27 languages are listed under “Talk” for speech translation.

Travis® Touch

A much-talked about crowdfunded project, Travis® Touch (former Travis the Translator) is a handheld device that is supposed to rid us of language barriers forever. The goal of Travis is to translate conversations in 80 languages, 20 of which will have offline support. However, there is a difference in quality between online and offline translations. Besides, Travis is still being developed and improved upon, so by now it remains a product that has the potential to turn our world upside down. When connected to the Internet, Travis offers smart AI-assisted translation for 105 languages (though some of them do not support voice-in/voice-out functionality). When offline, it supports 16 languages with the basic word-to-word translation.


Another futuristically-looking a wearable device that hangs around your neck and translates speech in real-time is ili. Positioning itself as the first wearable translator for travelers, ili is lightweight, fast and does not require wifi to work.

Conveniently, its library is optimized for travel-related scenarios, such as restaurants, shopping, and transportation.

However, ili’s translation capability is currently limited to Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese and the translation is one-way, so the question whether you understand the person you’re talking to remains open.


As early as in 2016, a wearable translation device called the “Pilot” shook the tech world. The device consists of two earpieces, one for each speaker, and a mobile app. In this way, real-time translation is delivered right into your ear canal.

Specially designed with noise-canceling microphones, the Pilot earpiece detects speech and filters out ambient noise. Afterwards, the The Pilot then performs speech recognition, machine translation and speech synthesis to output the translated version into the second earpiece.

Bragi Ear Translator

Integrated with iTranslate, Bragi’s Dash Pro earbuds offer real-time translation in almost 40 languages (16 of which are supported offline) and are called the first truly wireless smart earphones. In theory, if two people own Dash Pro earphones, they can converse as normal. However, it is rather unlikely, so the person wearing the earphones can hand their phone over to the other person and they can hear the translation through the app. Though the translation accuracy still needs improvement, it has already become a valuable assistant doing its job on an acceptable level.

Lingmo Translate One2One

Another similar product that appeared in summer 2017, a set of earpieces called One2One relies IBM’s Watson to translate 9 languages in real-time. It uses its own SIM, meaning that you need to be in the range of a data connection but you do not need Wi-Fi . Even though the earpiece does not depend directly on the smartphone, it won’t work if you’re completely offline. Besides, the translation accuracy still remains at the 85% point, so don’t expect perfect translations.

As you can see, 2018 continues the developments on 2017 making the apps better, faster and integrated to wearable devices. We hope that the trend continues — and the next year’s post we’ll dictate into a microphone — and you’ll be able to read or hear it in a language you choose.



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