Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (2023)

What are the best voice translation apps for China travelers?Perhaps you are not an omniglot who speaks several languages ​​fluently. Perhaps you are a little worried about traveling in China without speaking Chinese. Many of us have these feelings when traveling abroad and these are the best translation apps I recommend for anyone traveling to China.

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (1)

It is important to note that I will focus here specificallyvoice 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's camera.

But that's not what it's about.

The purpose of these apps is to let you speak English (or your native language) on your phone and have it right away.translate and speakthe Chinese phrase.

On the other hand, a Chinese person can talk to you over the phone and the app will automatically translate English for you.

For tourists and business travelers, these voice translation apps can be lifesavers. As I've written before,Is it possible to travel to China without speaking Chinese?, and this use of technology is the main way to do that.

Important note

Currently, all these apps work through 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, then you need to make sure that you canuse your phone on a chinese networkand if not, find outhow to get chinese sim card.

I could flood you with a list of 10-20 apps. Instead, let's focus on these five popular apps I've used:

  • Baidu translation app
  • google translate app
  • iTranslate app
  • Microsoft translator app

Hope you find one that works best for you. Enjoy!

To use:Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive compensation if you choose to use one of the listed services. I only recommend what I have personally used and appreciate your support!

Baidu Translate | Free and recommended

HeBaidu translation app(Available for iOS and Android devices) Honestly, it's not my favorite voice translation app, but I'm listing it here first for a reason...

…is a China-approved app.

This means you won't have any problems using the app in China. It's not blocked by Chinese censorship and (probably) never will be.

The interface is very easy to understand, although most of it is in Chinese. Most people shouldn't have any problems. Take a look at some of the sample screenshots below:

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (2)

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

There are several features (or "applets", as they call them) in the app, but since the app is designed for Chinese use, most of them won't help you.

(Video) TOP 5 Translation Apps 🗣🌏

For example, there is a Phrasebook applet, but it only translates from Chinese to English/Japanese/Korean. There are no English to Chinese sentences.

Baidu Professionals

  • Guaranteed to work in China
  • Free to download and use
  • Well-designed chat mode with chat history

Contradicted by Baidu

  • Not designed for English speaking users
  • No offline mode available
  • There are no phrase guides for English

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (3)

Google translator | The best (but blocked)

By far one of the best and most accurate voice translation apps on the market today is Google Translate (available foriOS devicesyAndroid).

There's only one problem: it's one of themany google apps blocked in China.

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

Google offers voice and conversation translation, as well as the ability to highlight certain phrases you want to save for later. Take a look at the Google Translate screenshots here:

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (4)

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

Unfortunately, in my personal testing, the camera feature in 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 of this offline mode is thatonly works with text, not voice. For voice translations, you will still need a network connection.

Google Professionals

  • Easy to use Save for later function
  • Offline mode for text to text translation
  • Free download (no paid upgrade)

Google cons

  • Blocked in China (unlock with ExpressVPN)
  • The translated conversation voice is very robotic.
(Video) Can a Pocket Translator Beat a Real Translator? We Tested It. | WSJ

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (5)

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (6)

iTranslate | beautiful but expensive

I translateit is the voice translation app that offers the best user experience among all the others listed here. The only drawback is thatit's not free.

As you can see in the screenshots below, the app offers conversational voice translation and a handy phrase guide with audio pronunciation.

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (7)

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

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

The idea is for you to hold the phone upside down like a microphone and simply press the screen to speak. Automatically detects which language is being spoken and translates.

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (8)

If I had to give an award for design and ease of use on this list, Converse would definitely win. It's also one of the only apps to have an Apple Watch app.

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

iTranslate Professionals

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

Contras do iTranslate

  • The full version costs money
  • Voice translation doesn't work offline

Microsoft Translator | free and unlocked

Although it is similar to Google Translate,microsoft translatorit has a clear advantage: it is not (currently) blocked in China. That's part of what makes it such a great voice translator for China.

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

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (9)

Another feature that makes Microsoft Translator unique is its web chat mode.

This means that if multiple phones have Microsoft Translator, you can connect them with one code and have them all participate in the same conversation.

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (10)
(Video) TOP Translation App | Best Phone Call & Video Translator ( Whatsapp / Messenger / Wechat )

I can see how this could be useful for a multilingual team that needs to communicate easily. You can see the homepage of the online and face-to-face chat views in the screenshots above.

Microsoft Professionals

  • Simultaneous translation of voice, characters and pinyin
  • Face-to-face and network conversation mode
  • free to use
  • Apple Watch app available

Microsoft cons

  • robotic voice translator
  • The offline language file (text to text only) is huge at 98MB

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Speak and Translate | The best design but expensive

Honestly, I hesitate to mentionspeak and translate, an additional option as a voice translator for China. It is highly rated in the app store, however, it is no better than all other voice translation apps listed above.

You can see below that the UI is colorful but a little clunky.

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (12)

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

Or you can pay for the full version without plugins.

Professionals speaking and translating

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

Cons of speaking and translating

  • annoying freemium model
  • No android app available

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (13)

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (14)

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Final Considerations | Best Chinese voice translation apps

In the end, my recommendations boil down to this:

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

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

The key is to make sure you canUse your phone in Chinaon the network to use speech-to-speech translation features.

Once you have that installed, these apps make getting around China very easy, even if you don't speak a word of Chinese!

Best Language Translation Apps for China Travelers and Expats in 2023 (15)

More reading and resources

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Traveling or moving to China ready?

Download "44 Tips You MUST Know Before Traveling to China". These simple but often overlooked tips canmake or break your trip!

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Download the tips here


What is the most accurate Chinese translator app? ›

The Complete Guide to the Best Chinese Translators in 2023
  • Best Online Translator: Google Translate.
  • Best Document Translator: Yandex.
  • Best Menu Translator: Waygo.
  • Best Phrase Translator: Bravolol.
  • Best Character Translator: Purple Culture.
  • Best Word Translator: Pleco.
  • Best Single-Character Translator: MDBG Chinese.
Feb 7, 2023

What is the number 1 translation app? ›

Google Translate

There are a range of features within the app, including the option to speak into your device and enable voice translation, while there is also a camera option, which lets users take a picture of some text to translate it.

What translation app works in China? ›

Baidu Translate

The Baidu Translate app is available for iOS and Android and is certified by the Chinese government.

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.
Jan 24, 2022

How do you translate while traveling? ›

How do you translate while traveling?

What translation apps are better than Google Translate? ›

What translation apps are better than Google Translate?

What is the best free translation app? ›

What is the best free translation app?

Who is the best translator app? ›

The best translation apps for Android
  • Offline Translator Speak and Translate Pro.
  • Microsoft Translator.
  • Dictionary Linguee.
  • BK Translate.
  • Google Translate.

Is there an app that will automatically translate? ›

You can translate text in other apps with the Google Translate app.

Is there an app that translates in real time? ›

Translate Me is a simple yet powerful tool to translate text, speech and even to have real-time translated conversations! Travel around the world and communicate easier than ever: at the airport, supermarket, hotel, during business trips or simply while traveling on vacation.

What app is mostly used in China? ›

In December 2022, Tencent's instant messenger service WeChat remained the most popular mobile app in China with around 1.01 billion monthly active users (MAUs). Its older sibling QQ was the third placeholder with about 750 million MAUs.

What app can i use to communicate with China? ›

Smartphone Apps
  • WeChat (or Weixin 微信) WeChat is one of the most popular free messaging apps in China and provides many features compared to other social messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger. ...
  • WhatsApp. ...
  • QQ. ...
  • WeCom. ...
  • Weibo (Not Blocked) ...
  • Snow (Not Blocked) ...
  • Twitter (Blocked) ...
  • Reddit (Blocked)
Dec 15, 2022

How much do Chinese translators cost? ›

The minimum charge for translation projects is $100. Non-certified translations are processed by one translator only, whereas certified translations by two translators.
Chinese-English Translation Fees.
CategoryNon-Certified Translation (USD)Certified Translation (USD)
Legal Translation$0.25-0.35/word$0.30-0.45/word
6 more rows

What is the most needed language translator? ›

Top Languages That Are Very Demanded Translation
  1. Spanish. The majority of people can guess appropriately that Spanish is the language in the top-most demand for well-experienced translators. ...
  2. English. English is the language for global relationships, travel, and business. ...
  3. Mandarin. ...
  4. Chinese. ...
  5. German.
Oct 7, 2021

What is the best instant translator? ›

What is the best instant translator?

Is DeepL better than Google Translate for Chinese? ›

Is DeepL better than Google Translate? It depends on what you need. 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.

Is there an accurate Chinese translator? ›

Like Google Translate, Baidu Translate is used for translating simple sentences and phrases. It has a better analysis of the Chinese language and does a better job when it comes to Chinese to English translators.

Is Google Translate accurate for Chinese? ›

In general, Google Translate has very high accuracy, especially for popular languages such as Spanish and Chinese.

Is DeepL Chinese accurate? ›

If you want the most accurate translations possible, DeepL is definitely one of the best options. When it comes to translation accuracy, DeepL is regularly rated as the best, even beating out Google Translate.


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