After some digging, however, I learnt that as many as 36% of UK adults are bilingual. That's 24 million people - with a growing number of 16-to-24-year-olds speaking two languages fluently, according to tutoring platform, Preply.

The best way to describe emotti is to call it the younger, smarter and more portable cousin of Google Translate, combined with the instant messaging powers of WhatsApp. The AI-powered mobile app translates your texts in real time, allowing you to communicate with friends in any language - always getting perfect sentences in your mother tongue back.

Say, for instance, I messaged you in Spanish: "Hola, ¿Cómo estás?". Rather than seeing an unfamiliar language on your phone screen, you'd be greeted with a familiar "Hi, how are you?". Equally, if I were to speak to you in French, you could choose the language of the message conveyed back to you - and with literally any option from Afrikaans to Zulu to choose from, the possibilities are, theoretically, endless.

It was easy to sign up and even easier to invite my Greek friend from an existing list of contacts. The first of my victims to test the app on, I was surprised to feel a spark of excitement as his message flashed up on my screen, written in perfect English.

"Did you send that in Greek?", I asked, noticing the little label under the message that told me the original language. Incidentally, when I clicked on it, it revealed the initial Greek text, too.

We chatted for a while, marvelling at the ease of communication. All in all, it was pretty accurate, making it incredibly convenient for navigating holidays abroad, when you might need to speak to the owners of a foreign Airbnb to pick up the keys or arrange local car hire, for example. It's a great deal cheaper than other, real-time translation solutions like Google glasses, too!

This is when we really began to put emotii through its paces. It turns out that, whilst it doesn't cope too well with idioms ("happy as a nose" mean anything to you?), it is adept at coping with slang, even when there are spelling mistakes and even when you write like a teenager using the latest lingo to really test it out.

At least, this was the case with Greek, Spanish, Russian and other more common combinations of languages. Lesser spoken languages like Uzbek work but tend to be a bit more literal. That said, it's definitely enough to get by.

All in all, it's a great little tool. Free, easy to use and already in your pocket, it could really streamline international business, providing many perks in our personal lives to boot. It certainly exceeded my expectations and, unless you're texting like Shakespeare, is likely to exceed yours, too.

For further information visit: emotii