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This article was published on January 4, 2012

    This chat app has something the others don’t, real-time language translation

    This chat app has something the others don’t, real-time language translation
    Drew Olanoff
    Story by

    Drew Olanoff

    Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]

    There’s no shortage of apps that let you chat with your friends on mobile devices. There’s apps like GroupMe, WhatsApp, Kakao Talk, that appeal to people who want to talk to their friends outside of a normal text message.

    The feature sets of these apps are pretty common, they include; group chat, emoticons, Facebook integration, custom themes, and even your own phone number. One thing they all missed the boat on was translation. It seems like an obvious feature, but it’s not something that we’ve seen until now.

    TransFire is an instant messaging app that translates conversations in real-time using Google Translate‘s API. If you have friends all over the globe who might speak different languages than you, this iOS app is a no-brainer to download.

    Translation station

    Even though Google Translate will work on your Chrome browser, the real-time chat capabilities that TransFire opens up make the technology way more useful. Google’s own chat product, Google Talk, allows you to add translation bots to your contacts that will assist with chat translation, but I think a more native experience like the one TransFire offers is the way to go.

    You can log into the app with your Facebook account and it will look for friends that have installed it. TransFire will also scan your address book for friends with the app.

    While this app isn’t the prettiest chat app on the market, the utility it provides far surpasses what it lacks in eye-catching design. Since it uses Google Translate, TransFire will translate your chats into over 50 languages.

    If you work with someone from another country, or if your friends prefer to speak in their native language online, this app is perfect to keep a fluid conversation going. The other nice part about the app is that it doubles as a standalone translation tool, and gives you the ability to share your translated text on Facebook, Twitter, SMS, or email.

    If you can look past the lackluster design, which isn’t too horrific, this app can save you a lot of time when you’re just trying to carry out a normal conversation with someone who speaks a different language than you do. One thing the app is lacking is open chatrooms for people to communicate all over the globe. I think it would be an awesome way to meet people from different countries if you could understand what they’re saying 100% of the time. Perhaps this is something that TransFire will offer in the future.

    TransFire