iPhone: If you're travelling to a country that doesn't speak your language and you want to be able to communicate without dedicating most of your free time to learning the language, TripLingo can help. It's an iOS app that teaches you useful phrases you'll actually need when travelling, and you can learn different variations so you can speak formally, casually, or like one of the cool kids.
What Does It Do?
TripLingo teaches you how to speak useful phrases in other languages based on your personal needs. It does so by asking you questions about your trip, what you want to learn about, and how much you want to learn. When you've set your preferences for a specific trip/vacation, you'll be able to study using flash cards that display a given phrase. You can use a slider to choose how formal or casual you want to speak and hear the phrase spoken to you at normal speed, slowly, or phonetically. When you're ready to study, it'll quiz you and track your progress — but it works on an honour system as you have to tell it how well you did. For reference, you're also provided with a dictionary and a means of browsing through different categories of phrases (called "Travel Situations").
Who's It For?
People who don't want to learn every word and phrase every uttered in a given language, people who want to learn slang phrases in other languages, and lazy people. TripLingo isn't going to teach you to speak a language fluently, but it will teach you phrases that you can actually use — and several ways of saying them.
Is It Worthwhile?
Yes and no. Again, you're not going to impress the locals with your ability to speak their language. Chances are you're going to learn a few useful things so you can communicate well enough to get by. If you're looking for full-blown training, this isn't it. If you're looking to provide more than a blank stare in a foreign language conversation, TripLingo should do the trick. (Also, the app is very pretty.)
Trip Lingo is available in Spanish for $5.99, and French and German for $12.99. Portuguese and Italian are coming soon.