First time traveling to China? And your Chinese is limited to ‘Nǐ hǎo’? Then these apps might be useful to you!
So, you’ve arrived in Shanghai and you wanna start sightseeing. Taxi’s are kinda cheap here, so why not use them? Because you have no idea what to say to the taxi driver…?
This app will help you! Look for the place you wanna go to. Then flip your phone horizontally and there you have a very useful ‘taxi card’, that kindly asks the driver to take you to the address in Chinese.
Explore Shanghai metro map
Shanghai’s subway is one of the longest in the world, very fast and easy to use. This is a helpful subway map. It will show you the shortest route, how much that will cost you, how long it will take to get there and most importantly, it works offline! You can even see where the nearest metro station is since it uses location services.
Also available for Beijing, Guangzhou, Taipei and Hong Kong.
The same designers of the metro map also made an app to check the balance on your subway card. Only for Apple though… If you stay longer than 3 days, it’s useful to buy a card that you can recharge. You need to pay 20RMB for the card (which you get back when you return it) and then add the amount you want.
When you’ve made your first Chinese friend (‘péngyǒu’) you can stay in touch with them by asking for their Wechat or ‘Wēixìn’ account. Here, Whatsapp is a very popular free instant voice messaging app. In China, Wechat is used a lot.
A great Chinese-English dictionary. It can always come in handy when you want to look up a word. If you also install the audio pronunciation, you can try pronouncing it yourself! You can even look up the meaning of a character by drawing it, give it a shot!
If you want other add-ons, like flashcards to practice your vocabulary or a character recognizer (with your phone’s camera), you need to pay extra, or download the next app!
With this app you can instantly translate Chinese menus and signs to English by using your smartphone camera. Just hold your camera in front of it and there you’ll have the translation. It works offline, you can choose one free language (Chinese or Japanese) and 10 free translations per day are included in the trial. No more excuses for not trying that local Chinese restaurant!
(Unfortunately, for now only for Apple users. But the Android version is in development)