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3 Best Free Apps for Japanese Translation to download before traveling to Japan

3 Best Free Apps for Japanese Translation to download before traveling to Japan Travel Guide

Many sites tell you about translation apps to download for your dream Japan trip, but do you know which app is the best for especially Japanese translation?

My mother language is Japanese, and the second language is American English.

So I tried several apps and pick up the top three Japanese translation apps for you today!

Moreover, you don’t need to register to use these apps and also no ads on the screen.

Google translate

google translate handwriting

Anyway, no matter what, you should download “Google Translate” app on your device as the main translate app.

The basic text translation is available over 100 languages and the translation accuracy has been improved compared it used to.

It’s just simple to use, the instant camera translation, and off-line use.

I like the instant camera translation is enabled for the sentence and words written with vertical.


  • Simple to use
  • Available offline mode ( Text translation only. Require to download your selected language while it is connected with the internet.)
  • Translation accuracy is better than it used to. Misreading is toleratable.
  • Very quick response
  • No advertisement
  • Has an “instant camera translation” 
  • Also supports vertical writing


  • Camera scan is often not good at Chinese characters
  • It often does not read handwriting correctly
  • can’t use scan and handwriting with offline mode
  • Weird pronunciation sometimes
  • Not accurate

Get it on Google Play

Voice Tra

voicetra rico

“Voice Tra” is the best app to have a conversation with Japanese people.

This app is mostly used for voice translation, but you can use text translation too.

It supports 31 languages, grantees high accuracy of Japanese by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan.

It’s simple to use with the big interface with cute colors ( I think), high-accuracy most of the time, but it gets incorrect when you have a complicated conversation or not use proper Japanese.

ex. My dad (the Japanese) and my husband (the American) talked about Golf via this app, it translated incorrectly. So I guess, too maniac topic for?


  • Simple to use
  • High accuracy of Japanese translation
  • Clear pronunciation
  • Easy to switch languages between 2 people
  • Colorful and cute interface
  • No advertisement


  • Internet connection required
  • Take a little time to translate compared with the other apps
  • Can not change speech speed ( Speech is kind of slow)
  • The history page is not on the same page
  • Unsure of accuracy another language to other languages outside of English and Japanese (but you can quickly report the company on the same page if it is not accurate. )

Get it on Google Play

Say Hi

say hi rico

Say Hi app is a very simple, quick and accurate Japanese translation.

The best feature I like is the auto-play function. Hold the microphone mark, and the key bord shows up. Then type what you want to transrate, it automatically speeches in another language.


  • Simple to use
  • Quick response
  • High accuracy of Japanese translation
  • Automatically speech when you text words and sentences ( you can turn off auto-play from setting.)
  • Clear pronunciation
  • Keep history on the same page. Slide the screen up, repeat sentences anytime.
  • No advertisement


  • Internet connection required
  • Speech recognition in noisy places has a problem a little bit

Get it on Google Play

Microsoft translate (option)

This is an option, I would say not much difference from Google translate.

It has voice, camera, text, and conversation translation modes. I feel a little unhappy about switching languages, ( google translate is easier ).

You can use offline mode if you download favorite languages.

The big reason why you want to choose Microsoft translate is supporting Apple watch.

It translates other languages quickly when you speak to the Apple watch, and also automatically synchronizes translations between the smartphone and the Apple watch.

Get it on Google Play

In conclusion…

I recommend to download “the Google app” and both or one of two, “Voice Tra” or “Say hi” apps before you travel to Japan.

Don’t forget to download Japanese and your language into the google translate app for offline mode.

I also highly recommend purchasing an international SIM card or change the monthly plan in your country to get a stable internet connection in Japan.

You can find free wifi network in popular cities in Japan, however, network condition is still not great and also you need to consider the security.

If you consider buying a Japan Rail pass, this site also sells the SIM card available in Japan. Once you order a SIM card or pocket wifi on this site, it will be delivered to the airport or where you are staying. When you leave Japan, just drop it in a mail post. To reduce your stresses and save time, it would be a smart choice if you get a SIM card or pocket wifi now. (*The Sim card and the pocket wifi are not in the affiliate program.)

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