Are you learning German and need a decent English to German translation app? Keine Sorge! 😊
Finding one that’s both accurate and clear can be difficult. Some seem really promising at first, but after two vocab searches you realise you have to sit through 20-second ads every couple of minutes.
Others are clear, easy to use, and elegant, but offer little in the way of actual translation content.
I’ve put together this guide to help you find the perfect English to German (and vice-versa) app for your needs.
English to German and German to English translation apps for German
To help you on your quest to find a German translation solution that suits you, I’ve listed my personal favorites.
My first recommended translation app for German is a lesser known one, but the sheer practicality of it makes for an excellent language companion.
The app dict.cc is a free and extensive dictionary that you can access both online and on your phone. You simply download the English to German dictionary onto your phone and you’ll get access to hundreds of thousands of German words and phrases wherever you are in the world.
It’s perfect for use on the go, as it works offline. For linguists who are somewhat confident in their conversational abilities, it’s ideal for when you forget that occasional word. You can just reach down and within a couple seconds you can jump right back into the conversation!
Most importantly, its interface is simple and easy to use. You don’t get constant ads blocking your path to knowledge, and no weird buttons anywhere on screen. Just a simple search bar and the translations you need.
An increasingly popular translation app that includes German, WordReference is one of the most thorough dictionary apps on the market.
But it’s not just the sheer volume of words that WordReference offers that makes it so good, it’s the extra guidance and context it gives you. For instance, when you look up a noun, it will tell you every possible meaning of the word, its gender, and it will provide an example sentence for context.
Plus, users can take advantage of the WordReference forum. This online hub is packed full of queries and questions about uncommon phrases and slang terms. Chances are, if you can’t find a word in the WordReference dictionary, someone will have asked after it in the forum.
The Leo app is similar to dict.cc in the sense that they are both dictionary-focused (not to mention they both have orange interfaces).
Leo has an extensive range of vocabulary and a very simple, clear user interface. When you look up a word, it will not only give you the translation, but also any relevant information such as case declensions, verb conjugations, and plurals.
For more unusual words, Leo may even give you example sentences so you can see how the word is used in context. For instance, multiple translations of a term may be individually marked if they’re for use in a medical context, a technical context, a sporting context, etc.
The Reverso app is particularly good at one thing: offering context for your words.
While its main machine translation software is okay, it’s never fully accurate. When translating individual words, however, it’s an exceptional app for making sure you have the right word for the context you want to use it in.
Below the translation, Reverso will give you several sentences where the word has been used in context from around the internet, functioning sort of like a corpus.
This way, you can see your translation being used in context to see if it’s the correct word you need. For German learners, this is particularly important, as there are often a lot of translations for the same English word depending on context.
Like many of these German translation apps, Linguee provides dictionaries for multiple languages. However, its pool of German vocabulary is its most extensive.
Linguee won’t just provide you with accurate translations, it will give you all the alternatives for that term and round off by including some less common translations.
You’ll also get given context through example phrases, which are neatly written underneath each word. The app has a lovely feel to it and runs smoothly, making it an ideal companion for the travelling linguist.
We’ve included Google Translate in this purely based on its features alone. However, it’s not worth using this app unless for casual or quick situations, because it’s just nowhere near as accurate as other German translation options.
Although its accuracy has improved in recent years, it still lags behind when translating from English to German and vice versa.
That said, there are a number of positive features to Google Translate which merit its inclusion in our list. For one, the dictation software allows you to speak into the app and it’ll translate your sentences as you talk.
Another great feature is its camera, which lets you take photos of signs, documents, etc, and translate the German that’s written on them into English. It’s particularly useful if you’re out and about and trying to find your way around a city or building, for instance.
The DeepL Translate app is possibly the best machine translation app out there. While it works as a dictionary, it’s much better used as a translator for sentences and larger bodies of text.
Of course, it’s still not 100% accurate, but it’s much better than other similar technologies out there. Professional translators certainly recommend this app for both your phone and laptop, as it’s a very handy tool for gauging the meaning of text.
German is a language that’s still far from being accurately translated using machine translation services. As such, DeepL is excellent for languages like French and Spanish, but requires a little more editing in German.
That said, it’s an amazing German translation app - perfect for if you simply want to get a gist of a long passage, or for looking up the odd phrase.
Bringing up the rear of the list is the iTranslate app. While it’s popular among some people, many prefer using one of the translation apps previously mentioned.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. It just means that many people aren’t willing to pay the large fees to unlock all the good stuff. And why would you, when there’s so many other good German translation apps out there.
Anyway, iTranslate is a perfectly functional machine translation app that lets you type in whatever text you want and receive adequate German translations. One great thing about it is its camera function, which works in a similar fashion to Google Translate.
Perhaps its redeeming feature, though, is the fact that it’s optimised for offline use. This is ideal for linguists on the go or if you’re travelling through German-speaking countries.
German translation apps are your best friend
If a conversation gets too tough, or you forget that all-important word, you can simply reach into your pocket and look it up with a reliable app for translating German to English (and vice-versa).
A German app is there as a supplement to your knowledge, not as the foundation for it.
What’s more, they’ll never be 100% accurate. If you’re trying out a new word for the first time in a German-speaking country, test it in casual conversations first or find more context online before you include it in a speech, for instance.
With the options I’ve listed here, you’re bound to find one that works for you.