If you have traveled abroad extensively, for business or pleasure, you are probably all too aware of the fact that communication, or lack thereof, can cause a slew of problems. From genuine safety concerns to wandering aimlessly in foreign streets to ordering incorrectly at a restaurant, the language barrier can be a traveler’s headache. Thick guidebooks and language dictionaries are becoming things of the past as books are becoming increasingly obsolete due to the advent of the smartphone, tablets, and the omnipresence of the internet. In a recent article, Stephanie Rosenebloom from the New York Times outlines a few of the best language applications you can use on your smartphone that can be a true lifesaver abroad.
A cost-friendly alternative to these nettlesome books, Bravolol offers different language applications for a number of different languages including, but not limited to, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and many more. Each app features common phrases and words that you are bound encounter and use while traveling in the respective country free of charge. Another free feature of Bravolol is the romance section. Here, you can learn phrases such as “Would you like a drink?” and other things you may hear during a night on the town. The app allows the user to favorite certain phrases and subsequently displays them in an easily accessible favorites category.
Bravolol stands out from its competitors for two reasons. First, is its user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing design. The application displays the categories on plain white background with a colorful and easily identifiable buttons for the various categories. Ease of use for such an application is imperative because it is going to be most useful when you are roaming the streets of a foreign city, and not when you are lounging on your hotel room bed. It also allows you to increase the font size so you do not have to waste precious time repeatedly putting on your glasses.
Furthermore, Bravolol is tremendously useful for anyone on a foreign excursion as it pronounces the words and phrases aloud. This eliminates all guesswork regarding the pronunciation of these words. However, if you still find yourself butchering these phrases, simply let whomever you are trying to communicate with listen to the Bravolol app.
If you are looking for additional features such as weather, numbers, or directions, you are going to have to shell out $4.99 for the paid version of Bravolol.
Rosenbloom also considers Google Translate to be one of her favorite apps while traveling abroad. With Google Translate, you can learn new words by snapping a picture of a word or phrase you see. The app can scan the image and almost instantaneously provide you with the correct translation. This feature can prove to be quite useful when rushing through the airport or looking for a desired restaurant.
You can also speak into the app. Google Translate will translate what you just said and play it back for you in your requested language. How cool is that! On the flip-side, if you are having trouble communicating with a waiter or clerk, simply hold the phone up to reveal what they are saying.