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Phileas Fogg and Passepartout approach the Swiss Alps

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Translators and Translations
This topic covers finding a translator or interpreter immediately either in person or by phone or being able to immediately translate between two languages using a website you can get to from your PC, PDA, PocketPC, Palm or web-enabled cellphone. You will have to pay for on-demand phone interpreters. As for web-based automatic translation services where you cut and paste text between languages or translate websites or website pages, we focus on those that are popular and free.  At the bottom of the page are some other human translator resources when the need is not so urgent.

See our Language Stores topic for companies that sell language translation software and electronic translators.

Your Translation Options When Traveling
You have several options in the 21st century to communicate with someone who does not speak your language when you don't speak their language.

Via Phone.  You can speak to someone over the phone who can connect you with an interpreter who can translate between you and the person you need to communicate with in the other language.  There will normally be a charge for this service. See below.   call the local tourist office and someone there may be willing to translate for you.
Via Web.  Using a desktop computer available in a hotel or cybercafé, or your laptop, a PDA device or your web-enabled cellphone, you can go to a website that automatically translates between English and the other person's language.  You sit together and take turns typing in your questions and answers.  You can also use the web to find a translator or interpreter in the city you are in.  The hotel staff or concierge will also help you find someone.
In Person.  Your hotel front desk personnel may be able to help you in an emergency or help you find someone who is willing to translate for you. If you are on a tour, of course, the tour guide will help you and often tour members will speak your language and the other language as well.  And, of course, if  you have made friends in the country you are visiting that speak your language and the native language, they will usually be willing to help you. If you need more than brief help, offer to pay them or treat them to dinner.

 Via Phone
 ways to get in touch with an interpreter or translator by phone immediately for a fee.
 In Specific Countries  Going between English and the country's major native language while in that country,
China Russia          
Applied Language Solutions. Instant telephone interpreter services.
AT&T Access Numbers  AT&T USADirect® Service connects to a variety of language assistance programs, such as translation services and "in-language" operators.
Certified Languages International. This is a full-service professional language company that specializes in phone interpreters and document translation services. They provide real-time telephone interpreters skilled in more than 150 languages that you can be speaking to in a few minutes.
Language Line Services  Call Language Line Services for over-the-phone interpretation in 150 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   This page will give you instructions for reaching this service.
OneTranslator.com.  A 24/7, on-line global translator phone service .
Multilingual Solutions.  Many translation services including 24/7 phone interpreters.
1-800-Translate.com. Online Translator, Spanish, French, German, Japanese.
Rosetta Interpreters.  On demand phone interpreters available immediately.
 Via Web
 use your PC, cellphone or PDA to automatically translate between languages.      
Word Translation. There are many free translating dictionaries that translate words between different languages. You can go to our Translation Dictionary topic where we list and link to some of the best ones or just do a web search with the word "dictionary" and the names of the two languages that you want to translate between.  You might also want to include the words "free online".    Example:  free online English Spanish dictionary.
Text Translation.  There are fewer free online translation sources for text.  We list some of the most popular and best ones here. Multi-Source - means that the website has translation text boxes for multiple language pairs from multiple free sources.  All websites listed translate between multiple language pairs.  Some also have a Guess Language capability where you paste in sample text for an unknown language and get an evaluation of the language.

Google Language Tools
Free You can instantly translate text and webpages and even a website using their free tools between a number of language pairs.  Their automatic website translation is really cool because once you put in the URL of the website or a page from it and click on a link to go to another page on that website, the new page is also translated automatically.
Humanitas International  Free Multi-Source  A wonderful website with links to free machine translation websites for text and web pages, to an extensive list of translation resources that includes which languages each one translates. In addition, they have an excellent feature worldwide news translations into your native language.

Mezzofanti Translations  Free Multi-Source  This site has put together on one page many of the online translation services that let you select a language pair, type in your word or phrase, and then click - Translate. This is the fastest way to find a good translation as you can work off of one page.  Some of these sources are also listed separately below.  They also have excellent links to other free and commercial translation resources on the web.
Freetranslation.com  Free This site is similar to SYSTRAN and does excellent online translations between about a dozen language pairs.
Free-Translation.ca  Free, Multi-Source, Guess Language *** They have the largest collection of free translation product text boxes all on a single page that we have found so far on the Internet. 
Free-Translator.com  Free Multi-Source Just type in the text you want to translate in one of the translation windows.
AltaVista™ Babel Fish Translation. Free. This is a great free translation service to quickly translate a phrase into another language or to translate web pages. They cover bi-directional translation for many major languages. We have tried it on a few common phrases like "How are you?" and it translated them perfectly!   Thank you AltaVista™ and SYSTRAN® for your kindness in providing a free translation service that really works well!
Translations.net  Commercial. They offer software and electronic translation products as well as a professional (human) translator service.
WorldLingoFree.  They have a good variety of language pairs covering the major languages of the world.
About.com - Free Language Translation Free. This is the well known About.com section that lists and discusses free language translation products available on the web.
UK Student Life Free Multi-Source They are the only website we have found that lists languages in a convenient table with one column with links to text translations products and one column with links to dictionary translation products. 
WebPersonal.net-Machine Translation resources Free and commercial.  An extensive list and links to machine translation websites and products.
 Human Translators Via Web
For non-immediate translation services in the United States and overseas.

ATS Language Translations.  They have it all, Free and commercial machine translations and human translation services. Plus excellent links to other language translation resources.

American Translators Association  This is a major language translator association in the United States. You can find a professional translator for almost any language using their site.
Applied Language Solutions  They have offices in the United States and United Kingdom. They have over 14,000 specialist translators around the world.  They also have free language tools on their website.
DMOZ Translator Associations. A good list of worldwide translator associations.
DMOZ Translation and Interpreter Companies. A good list of worldwide translation and interpreter companies. Use your browser Find on this Page menu option and search for the languages you are interested in from the long list provided.
Aquarius Directory of Translators and Interpreters.  This is by far the best place to come on the web to find a translator or interpreter. They have an excellent interface.
iLoveLanguages - Translators.  Type "translators" in their search box and you will get a good list of human and software translation services. 
Translators Cafe.  Where translators and their customers meet.
Translator Web  They have a very extensive data base of translators worldwide and a very easy user interface. There is no registration required.
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