Picture Dictionary – BabelDeck by Triple Happiness (free, in-app purchases) for iPhone is the modern version of a traveler’s ‘pointing book’. BabelDeck contains images of around 800 different objects you may want to communicate in a foreign language.

Images within BabelDeck are clear and unambiguous, and the app is easy to navigate. Peanuts, for example, can be clearly distinguished from cashew nuts, hazelnuts, or walnuts, amongst other nuts! Great news if you love nuts!! Even better news, if you’re allergic to one type of nut.


Picture Dictionary Babeldeck


BabelDeck’s categories include food and drink; shopping; household and work; weather; time and date; services; and emergencies, amongst others. So, to find an image of a doctor, you’d either look up the services category or search for ‘doctor’. You do the same for food or other items. However, if you’re allergic to something, for example, nuts, it is possible to call up the picture of nuts and tap a button that displays a big red cross through the image. I use special allergy cards for this purpose. BabelDeck could work for you though if your needs are simple, or if it is just a preference rather than an allergy.

One powerful feature of the app is that you can add your own pictures. For example, I enjoy a particular Asian desert that has a different name across various countries in Asia. Visually, most Asians would recognize it instantly. However, trying to explain it in English or get the correct local pronunciation is often a challenge. Similarly, there are some particular fruits that I enjoy eating but I can’t remember or translate the names in different countries. Again, with an image stored in BabelDeck, most people will recognize it instantly, and tell me where I can find it.

BabelDeck makes this easy by having a Favourites menu where you can store your most frequently accessed images. You can purchase BabelDeck for several different language pairs. (BabelDeck displays the local word for the image at the bottom of the app screen.) Essentially though, you could ignore the written words and use BabelDeck for any language. While it is not the kind of app you’ll use all that often, it is very useful to have when you do need it. BabelDeck has you covered from toilet paper to soy milk.

Offline Use: BabelDeck works completely offline so you don’t have to worry about having a data connection to look up words in Google Translate.

Download here: iOS