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Old 4 Jul 2007
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Electronic Translators

Has anyone found electronic translators to be useful? Any recommendations?
I was thinking I might risk £50 or so.
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Old 4 Jul 2007
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Franklin TWE-118 European Translator

I bought one of these 4 years ago from Argos for £20.

It has 5 languages - English, Spanish, French, Italian & German, though you can only set it to use two languages at a time, eg, English to Spanish, French to German etc.

Not only does it translate individual words, there is a library of useful phrases such as emergencies, shopping, weather etc , a calculator & converter, a databank, local & world clock and a euro converter.

Measures 10 x 7 x 1 cm so fits in your pocket and after 4 years, the battery has just started running low. I doubt they will still do this model now, but there must be one that supersedes it.
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Old 4 Jul 2007
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They are still available

Amazon.co.uk: Franklin TWE-118 Pocket 5 language Euro translator: Electronics & Photo

Wouldn't you know it, they're less than a tenner now.
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Old 9 Jul 2007
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i though someone made a "java"-program like that so you can run it on a mobile phone?!
I’m not afraid to go fast, it’s the crash and burn part that sucks.
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Old 11 Jul 2007
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Maplins Electrics,got them in now £6.99.
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Old 26 Feb 2010
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Electronic Translation Devices - the good, the bad, and the confusing

I've spent a lot of time researching these. I'm studying teaching English and will move to Korea in June/July to reach there. This is what I've found.

First, any Go-ogling throws up the same brand - Ectaco, which must have the mother of all marketing budgets. They have a large range of products, the best model is the iTravl (various models). The good: you can by SD cards to plug in to change the language, you can record 50 'made up' phrases, e.g. "where can I find someone to weld this chassis here" in the middle of Russia, the device is also loud enough, and is available with about 19 different languages all together. It also has some kind of traininf mode to help learn the langauge (whichever one you want) - but not sure whether this is any good. The bad, it's not freestyling speech - very potted, pretty frustrating I imagine. It's also rather pricy, although if you point this out to them direct they are quick to do great deals for ya.

Second, check this out - speechgear.com. The first interesting product they do is called Compadre Interpreter, which is software you add to a Windows mobile device (buy a loud one!). It's not quite free speech to speech - which is the utopia - but they have a neat way of selecting the sentences you want using your little pen (they call it phrasebuilder). You can find it demo'd on youtube - better than the limited phrases above, and pretty decent price at around $80 from memory (for the software). It will also translate what comes back if you buy the ASR version. Don't be misled by the website, they have far more language pairs than you can see on there, I'm sure Robert [RPalmquist{AT}speechgear.com] wouldn't mind me publishing his email if you need help with anything - but we want more!

Allow me a quick rewind - if you want English / French, or English / Spanish, and recently even Japanese, then you're in luck; igonre the suggestions above, for $27 you can get Jibiggo(.com) - though it only works on an iPhone 3G (boo!) - it maybe makes an iPhone 3G worth buying. There are a couple of other iPhone apps, and now Nokia, but only for the MAJOR language pairs. Avoid Google Android because from what I know, in common with other Google apps, all the translation cleverness happens in the cloud, meaning you need a 3G connection from your Android phone to have your conversation with a Mongolian goat hearder. A flaw of major magnitude, methinks, though fine if you meet him in, say, Shanghi while he's on holiday.

Anyway, this is already too long, so to finish off quick: The best free speech to speech translator for languages a little more off the beaten track (I need Korean for example) that I've found, is Speechgear Interact. The downside is that you need a laptop / netbook to run it (and maybe a seperate microphone), and it costs $1000. It's aimed at businesses at the moment.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has any knowledge of software / gedgets that cover the Russian/English or Korean/English language pairs.

Is this worth a sticky in the new Electronic gadgets for translation section Grant?

Reality is something you rise above. - Liza Minnelli (1946 - )
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