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best iPhone Apps to Learn Languages

Written By Franklin V on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | 10:21 AM

Learning a language has gotten easier and much more convenient with the many apps available for use with your iPhone. Whether you want to learn just enough to get by while visiting another country or you want to delve more deeply into a language to become a proficient speaker, you will find apps to help you learn your language of interest. The following apps include translators, dictionaries, apps to learn multiple languages, and apps for specific languages. Download a few of these apps and start learning a new language right away.

Translators and Dictionaries

These translators and dictionaries can help you find words in several different languages, get voice pronunciation, and even find Chinese characters by drawing them on your iPhone.
  1. Google Mobile App. This app includes Google Translate so that you can easily translate any word, phrase, or web page in over 30 languages.
  2. Language Translator. Translate any text with this app that can also detect your source language.
  3. Language Translator. Go smoothly between 30 popular languages with this app.
  4. Free Translator. This translator uses Google Translate to help you translate between several different languages.
  5. Mobile Translator. With this app and an Internet connection, you can translate between 37 different languages.
  6. iTranslate Ultimate. Translate words between English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian, then have the words repeated back to you in the target language.
  7. Translator with Voice. This app will translate 34 different languages with voice support on all except nine of them.
  8. Idiom Dictionary. Whether you are learning English as a second language or just want to brush up on your slang, use this idiom dictionary to understand what people are really trying to say.
  9. DragonDian. Whether you are just learning Chinese or are already fluent, use this dictionary to draw Chinese characters and easily find an English translation.

Multiple Languages

These apps will help you learn more than one language if you can’t decide where to focus your attention.
  1. AccelaStudy. Get vocabulary, quizzes, flashcards, and much more to learn 16 different languages with this app.
  2. Lexicon. Study using flashcards then quiz yourself to see how well you are doing and even record and play back in audio with your iPhone.


If you want to learn Italian, then these apps will get you started with a variety of levels and activities available in each.
  1. Pocket Italian – Beginner I (1-10). Get a language lab right in your iPhone with this app that includes engaging story lines and a variety of voices to practice listening skills.
  2. Pocket Italian – Beginner Lite. Try this free version of Pocket Italian for the first lesson of the program.
  3. Byki Italian. Use Byki’s approach to learn Italian quickly. You can also use this app to quiz yourself or as a phrasebook.
  4. WordPower Lite – Italian. This free app gives you one word a day to practice and master. Listen to audio, record and play back your own voice, and use flashcards to reinforce what you are learning.
  5. MyWords Italian. Learn Italian by memorizing and mastering just 10 words a day with this app.
  6. World Nomads Italian Language Guide. Travelers will love this app that not only supplies common words and phrases, but also includes an audio pronunciation so you know how to say what you want to communicate.


Learning Spanish is easy with these apps that provide flashcards, quizzes, travel phrases, and much more.
  1. Byki Spanish. Get your Spanish down pat with this fast, three-step approach to language acquisition.
  2. English-Spanish Language Translator Phrasebook. Quickly find basic travel phrases, greetings, time and dates, shopping, and more with this app.
  3. MyWords – Spanish. Learn 10 Spanish words a day and their proper pronunciation to be speaking Spanish in no time.
  4. iSpeak Spanish. Translate between Spanish and English, hear words spoken in high quality English and Spanish voices, and even save or email the translations.
  5. WordPower Lite – Spanish. Learn Spanish with just one word a day with this app that includes audio in understandable Spanish, audio playback, and flashcards.
  6. World Nomads Spanish Language Guide. Find about 50 conversational phrases and words here to help travelers communicate without knowing much Spanish.
  7. Free Spanish Tutor. Get native speakers, interactive activities, and quizzes with this app that does not require Internet to work.


Learn French with these apps that provide words each day, native voice pronunciation, flashcards, basic words and phrases, and vocabulary-builders.
  1. Pocket French – Beginner Lite. Master listening, reading, speaking, and vocabulary with this language lab for your iPhone with this free app.
  2. Pocket French – Beginner I (1-10). Move up to this paid version for an even more intense language learning experience.
  3. Byki French. Be speaking French like a pro with this app that also serves as a phrasebook.
  4. English French Language Translator Phrasebook. Great for travelers or those who just need to look up the basics, this phrasebook will help you find just what you want to say.
  5. MyWords – French. Learn 10 words a day so that you can build to a vocabulary worthy of reading and understanding French newspapers and magazines in the first year.
  6. World Nomads French Language Guide. Never be at a loss when traveling again with this app that helps translate and provides audio pronunciation as well.
  7. Gengo Flashcards – French. Get visual cues and the voices of native French speakers to learn with these flashcards. Want to add to your vocabulary? Take a picture of any object, then add the French and English words to it, and you have created your very own flashcard.


The recent popularity of learning Japanese is evident with the varied types of Japanese apps available. Learn to read, write, and speak Japanese with the help of these apps.
  1. Pocket Japanese – Beginner Lite. Start learning Japanese with this free app that will help you with both listening and speaking.
  2. HiKaChan Hiragana Japanese. Learn to read the Japanese writing system of hiragana with this app.
  3. Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook. Get over 600 written and spoken Japanese phrases with this app that is perfect for traveling.
  4. Japanese Word of the Day. Every day you will receive a Japanese word with kanji, Japanese kana alphabet, Romanji, and native voice pronunciation for each word.
  5. iKana touch. Learn katakana and hiragana with this app that teaches you how to read, write, and understand both kana alphabets.

Variety of Languages

From German to Brazilian Portuguese to American Sign Language, you can find an app from this list to help you learn one of many languages.
  1. Byki German. Byki will have you learning German in no time with slowed native speakers, quizzes, and a phrasebook.
  2. MyWords – German. With the 10 words a day you receive with this app, you’ll be learning German in no time.
  3. WordPower Lite – Hebrew. Get a word a day to begin learning Hebrew with this app that also allows you to listen and record audio.
  4. Byki Irish. Learn Irish anywhere with this app that allows you to learn quickly and on the go.
  5. WordPower – Thai. See 2000 words and phrases in the original Thai, Romanized, and in English, then listen to the word to get proper pronunciation.
  6. Byki Brazilian Portuguese. This app helps you quickly learn Brazilian Portuguese with it’s simple three-step format.
  7. Pocket Arabic – Introduction I (1-10). This app is like a language CD on your iPhone, but it is also interactive with voice recording and flashcards.
  8. WordPower – Chinese (Simplified). Master approximately 2000 Mandarin words and phrases with this app.
  9. Pocket Korean – Beginner I (1-10). Start learning Korean with this app and you will master grammar, vocabulary, and even culture.
  10. MyWords – Russian. Learn 10 words a day with this app to speak and understand Russian.
  11. WordPower – Greek. Select from one of the categories here to learn over 2000 Greek words and phrases at your leisure.
  12. Byki Danish. If you want to learn Danish and remember it beyond the lessons, give this app a try that will teach you over 1000 words and hundreds of phrases.
  13. Signing Time ASL – Sign Language. Taken from the popular children’s program, this app provides 48 flashcards and video explanations of each.
  14. iSign – Sign Language. Either type in a word to see the sign or review the individual signs for A-Z and 1-9.
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