Foreign Language Dictionary App for iPhone?
December 19, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Any good dictionary apps for foreign languages on the iPhone?

I was on an international flight sitting a few rows behind a gentleman that was using what appeared to be a dictionary app. He was reading a hard copy magazine article in English, looking up words in this app that he didn't know (the definition was in English), then he was able to "save" the word he just looked up to some sort of list. I guess it's possible it was just an English dictionary app. I'd like similar functionality, but for French and/or Spanish. The ability to look up a word, read it's definition in the target language, and save the word to some sort of "I looked up these words recently" list for future reference. Any recommendations for iOS apps available in the US that fit the bill?
posted by undercoverhuwaaah to Education (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Real Academia EspaƱola has a pretty good app - I have it on my android and my girlfriend has it on her iPhone. I don't know if it lets you save the words you've looked up to a separate list, but it does put the RAE - which is basically the Oxford English Dictionary of Spanish - at your fingertips.
posted by Presidente de China at 12:52 PM on December 19, 2012

I've used Google Translate (the app).
posted by Consult The Oracle at 12:54 PM on December 19, 2012

The Collins dictionary now has an iPhone version, and you can turn a word into a flashcard. No Internet connection needed.

I found it absolutely invaluable when in a, you know, foreign country with horrifically expensive data roaming! And these are exactly the dictionaries I would have carried around in hard copy before.
posted by tel3path at 12:56 PM on December 19, 2012

The Larousse dictionaries are pretty good, have the bookmark function, and don't require internet access (unlike Google Translate or many of the free apps). I have experience with the French-English and the French-French apps and they're both fairly complete and up-to-date (although they have a tendency to crash if you look up too many words in a row without clearing the history).
posted by theodolite at 1:00 PM on December 19, 2012

It's not a dictionary, instead the Word Lens app will translate what you're looking at in real time for a very limited number of languages. You might find it useful in addition to the other actual dictionary suggestions.
posted by TimeDoctor at 2:00 PM on December 19, 2012

I used Ultralingua's Collins French/English while in West Africa and it served me quite well.
posted by mykescipark at 2:38 PM on December 19, 2012

There is an app called Languages that has multiple languages for lookup.
posted by acheekymonkey at 2:47 PM on December 19, 2012

I have untralingua's Spanish/English dictionary on my iPhone. It doesn't need an Internet connection to work which is good if you want to save money on international data roaming rates. With the app you can make a word a favorite. It also will keep a track of your lookup history do you can review later.

The dictionary is good at identifying slang terms and regional usage differences. So you don't end up accidentally being profane.

After using google translate on a trip and getting a huge bill the app has paid paid for itself. And the google translate app and web page does some crowd source definitons that are completely wrong. For example I was translating a sentence from Mexico about Mexico City aka the DF and each time DF was in Spanish google substituted London.
posted by birdherder at 5:02 PM on December 19, 2012

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