When a loved one goes missing abroad, no stone can be left unturned. That’s why many families opt to have an independent investigator conduct a concurrent investigation with law enforcement after filing a missing person report. International missing person investigators must be ready with the right tools and experience for reference in a case that takes them abroad. Having the right language tools can be the difference between a lead and a dead end, and that’s why our investigators are sharing their favorite language apps to have handy during international investigations.

Google Translate

Google Translate is an old favorite amongst international missing person investigators because of how easy it is to translate a conversation taking place in the moment. The nature of private investigations can sometimes be very erratic, instantaneous, and require improvising on the part of the investigator. There may ample time to call in an interpreter in order to secure a lead. In other cases, the course of the investigation can shift very drastically, and the dual-lingual needs of the investigation may change. The user-friendly interface and features of Google Translate makes it very easy to get crucial information on the go. It should be noted that Google Translate is not infallible. Colloquialisms other local language can be radically different from Google Translate depending on the region and dialect. When there is doubt, a private investigator can always cross reference the translation.


Duolingo is one of the most popular language apps out there with over 200 million users.  Duolingo’s interface is more like a mobile game app at times, allowing users to complete short lessons on the language of their choice. In an international missing person case, investigators may find Duolingo most helpful in being a crash course prior to the onset of the investigation. Each investigator will be the judge of their own dual-language needs for an investigation, but having Duolingo available is a great way to be introduced to a new language, or brush up on an old one.


This app lets users learn basic phrases and vocabulary while travelling abroad. The voice translator is this app’s best feature by far, which translates sentences in real time for investigators who are conducting interviews or recording for surveillance. This feature comes in handy in a pinch when there’s an emergency. The biggest drawback to TripLingo is that it is only available in 19 languages.


When conducting a missing person search in a country that does not use the 26-letter Phonetic alphabet, Waygo might be the way to go. Waygo’s interface deciphers pictures of scripted characters like those used in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. This can be critical when attempting to navigate or follow leads in the investigation.


iTranslate also has voice recognition technology that facilitates quick communications in international missing person investigations. It also allows you to take pictures of objects, and the interface will provide you with the word for that object. The app also allows you to text in over 100 languages, with an extensive dictionary and even verb conjugation.