Apps for Interpreters

In the time span of five years, I have grown to arrange many more things on the go; from signing contracts to booking hotels and tickets. For this, I can’t possibly do without my smart phone. Many handy apps ease an interpreter’s busy life. I would like to share with you the apps I have on my phone and why I’ve come to appreciate them.

When I do the logistics for a new assignment, I start by booking my flight ticket on Opodo or ebookers. I also make sure to check the rates on the airlines’ sites. I have the apps of the two biggest European airline alliances (Lufthansa and KLM) on my phone which allow me to buy tickets, look at updates regarding strikes or any disruptions and get my boarding pass electronically. The following step is to book my hotel room on Once this is done, I forward the confirmations to Tripit which then creates a complete itinerary for me.

When the packing time is there, I check the BBC weather app which provides a 7 day forecast of the city I’m heading to. This way, I’m sure I’m packing the right clothes.

Wherever I go, I can trust Moovit to help me plan my route in 42 countries in Asia, Europe and America. Reading road signs is a piece of cake thanks to WordLens which you just point at any sign and it scans and translates it for you!

One of the perks of travelling is trying different kinds of food. I always check Tripadvisor for restaurants in the vicinity of my hotel. They can be ranked according to user reviews. So far, I haven’t had any disappointments so far. With offline content in more that 50 languages, MyLanguage helps me decipher the menus.

As mental maths is not my strongest suit, I find XE currency converter to be very useful for trips outside the Euro zone.

While on the job, I refer to Dictbox and Dictionary for quick word searches.

It is vital for conference interpreters to be abreast of recent developments in the world. I rely on newsfeed accounts on Twitter to keep up to date. This proved very informative once during a ministerial meeting. A foreign minister was due to deliver a keynote speech during the meeting and the speech was not given to the interpreters. I was getting a bit nervous about this then I learnt from Twitter before it was announced at the conference that the minister in question was not coming due to a hospitalized parent. There is also Umano where one could choose the topics of interest (world politics in my case) and the app gathers the daily headlines in the form of podcasts.

It happened several times that I am asked to urgently send a copy of my passport or scan this or the other. Camscanner allows me to scan documents and e-mail them on the go. FileApp pro enables me to edit, save and e-mail documents using my phone. It is good for contracts one needs to revise or forms that require filling in while travelling. In this category, there is also Photo editor.

As it is important to regularly work on one’s languages, especially if you’re working towards adding a new language, a handy and fun way to do that is to use apps in your language of choice. I have 7 Jours sur la Planète which has three features per week and related excercises and France Info which according to my preferences, creates podcasts to listen to offline.

There are some UK specific apps that I regularly use: the Trainline through which I plan my rail trips and buy my ticket on the go. Thanks to the London Tube app, I don’t need to look for a paper tube map which I take home then almost always forget to take with me when I leave for London. This app plans the route, gives a time estimate and shows the stops on the map. Hailo is great for when I need a taxi in London. It is good to know approximately how much a ride costs before setting out.

Of course my smart phone houses other apps (and games!) but the ones above are the appsolute essentials!