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Apps to break the foreign language barrier

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Technology is making it easier to do business without worrying about international borders—but the language barrier can still get in the way. Keep these apps in mind to address the problem.

Translation. Google Translate is nearly perfect as an on-the-fly tool. Users can speak, type or draw a word to be translated instantly. The app also has a tool that lets you take a picture of a word or block of text to have it translated on the spot. It’s available for iOS and Android.

Learning. Duolingo lets users learn how to speak a language instead of completely relying on technology for individual translations. The app provides basic lessons to learn and practice the fundamentals of various languages. Lessons call for users to match terms, translate sentences and speak words into the phone to practice pronunciation. The app is free for iOS and Android.

Verb conjugations. ITranslate is similar to Google Translate, but it offers one thing the other apps do not: conjugation tables for verbs, which can be a major point of confusion in foreign languages. The basic app is free, but to get more than present-tense verbs you’ll need to pay $2.99 a month. Available for iOS or Android.

A broader option. TripLingo offers language learning with flashcards, quizzes and a word bank; but it also has travel guides, etiquette hubs and phrasebooks. It’s free for iOS and Android.

— Adapted from “Five translation and language learning apps to make international business easier,” Brandon Vigliarolo, TechRepublic.

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