What is the best translator device?  The picture depicts our 3 top picks.
A picture of a mobile device held in female hands on a city background

Pocket translator device or a translation app: which one is better?

Multilingual communication is definitely getting more and more significant due to many technical advances, the ease of traveling, and the necessity to work abroad. All those things contribute to the fact that we need to speak foreign languages, however, it’s impossible to be fluent in all of them.

A perfect solution is to translate. But a human translator can't always be there to help you. So we have two choices: spend thousands of headaches learning every new language you need to use or take advantage of a digital translator or a translator device.

Translation app vs pocket translator device

Let’s look closely into the advantages and disadvantages of both types of translation services: pocket translator devices and translator apps.

Translation app vs device: costs

Well, a translator app is certainly cheaper than an electronic translator device. Electronic translators usually cost around 300 dollars. However, translator apps have much less to offer. These solutions typically have only one translation engine, which means that, even though they may provide a decent translation into some pairs of languages (especially the popular ones like English and Spanish or French and German), their quality will probably decrease when translating, for instance, from Japanese to American English.

Pocket translator devices often access multiple translation engines, which provide users with accurate translations for most language pairs. An example of such a device can be Vasco Translator M3, which has as many as 6 translation engines. How does it all work? This translator device accesses the one engine that is able to provide the best translation for a chosen language pair.

Internet — a necessity for translators of any kind

You need to be online to use both a translator app and a pocket translator, no doubt about it. However, when it comes to the first option, you usually have to use your own mobile data, whereas pocket translator devices usually have a built-in SIM card providing internet access for the purpose of the translation. This is a huge advantage and big convenience for travelers because, in some countries, internet access can be very expensive. Using your own data to run an application may, therefore, be costly.

There’s one more thing. Some SIM cards have a limit on the data usage (such as the one in Travis Touch Go), but there are translators which offer unlimited internet for life — for instance, Vasco Mini 2 and Vasco Translator M3, the only devices on the market offering internet access for life and with no limit. This also means that a device like that is a long-term investment — pay once, use it forever anywhere you want without any additional costs. The internet cost is not so scary anymore, is it?

A picture of a male tourist using a mobile device

Translation app vs device: the ease of usage

The next point of the “translation app vs device” discussion would be the comfort and ease of usage. When it comes to using a translator app on your mobile device, it seems comfortable enough, but, we usually use our cell phones for many purposes. Scrolling other apps and playing games can easily exhaust the battery, meaning that it may die way sooner than in a standalone translator device.

When you have a device that is dedicated to translation, its battery will definitely last longer. What is more, such a translator is available to work right away, without having to perform tedious security-related tasks. All in all, they are ready to use with a push of a button.

The translation app vs device conflict and the above points can also be well illustrated by the use of, for instance, a calculator. Even though we have a variety of apps providing the same functionality as pocket calculators, many people still use dedicated pocket calculators when they need their features on a regular basis. They don’t waste time unlocking a screen and looking the calculator up among a multitude of other apps — all basic features (and more) are available at the push of a button in a dedicated device. The same applies to using a translation app and a pocket translator.

A picture showing a close-up of complex calculator device features

Last but not least, pocket translators also have features such as photo translator, which provides the ability to translate text on pictures, or even phone call translation functionality.

Translation app vs pocket translator device: what do we say?

Translator apps seem to be quicker, more comfortable, and less expensive. Imagine, however, being on a trip to Australia or Japan. Your internet bill may be enormous. Electronic translators also provide much more accurate translations and greater ease of usage, thanks to intuitive interfaces. So if you ever have a “translation app vs device” kind of thought, be sure to keep in mind the points of the above discussion.