"Symbolic App: World visual kit" (US$0.99, and yes, that's its full name) offers a must-have app for anyone trying to communicate across language barriers. Whether you travel outside of your language zone or just visit restaurants with non-native speakers, this is the app for you.
Symbolic App provides superb cross-culture visuals that simplify communication, whether you're hunting down a bike shop or ordering spicy food. Topics include travel, health, security, brands and more.
You drill down from these general topics to specific icons using a simple tree-based swiping system. Basically you swipe left and right to move between topics, then up and down to go more specific or less specific. It is a lot easier to use than it sounds and was much faster to find items than I anticipated.
Once you drill to a specific item, a pull-up overlay from the bottom of the screen shows localized versions of the concept in five languages. Most of the time, however, you can skip the words and use the pictures alone. They are clean and self-explanatory.
A great value for one buck, the app is not without flaws. Despite its beautiful design, it ran fairly slowly on my iPhone 4s running iOS 7. I'm hoping that future updates will speed up responsiveness. Even as is, however, the app is more than worth its price.
Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 4s