discussed by the NY Times
In the last paragraph the author says that there is no substitute for learning a language. Even armed with one or two of these translator apps, (which I don't use and would not use in Europe), I wonder in which languages can she function ? How many?
I've happily used an app called Vocre in a number of countries. It's available for Apple and Android devices. It uses either keyboard or mic in phones and tablets. You get both visual and audio translations. It works pretty well. When in Evora Portugal, I left my iPhone charging cable behind. 195 km and two hours later, I got off the highway in Cestelo Branco and couldn't find a phone store. Pulled into a supermarket parking lot and used it to get directions from a lady returning to her car. Her directions got me to a large mall with 3 phone stores five minutes away. With any translation program, keep your sentences simple and try not to use idioms.