I’ve just been experimenting with an app that I think is brilliant if you ever go on holiday…
It’s called Google Translate – and you don’t even need to have the app to try it out.
You can download the app to your phone or tablet on the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. Or you can just visit translate.google.com on a phone, tablet or PC.
Then you can type something in in one language and it’ll give you a translation into whatever language you like.
You can use it to type in something in English and get a (say) French translation. Or type in something you’ve seen written in French and find out what it means in English.
I tried it out with my very limited schoolboy German: “Wie komme am besten zum Bahnhof?” – and it instantly told me it meant “What is the best way to the train station?”
When you type something in, you don’t even need to tell it what language it’s in – it can almost always work that out for you.
Not only that, you can tap to get the app to listen to something spoken instead, so it can translate that for you (then you do need to tell it what language it’s in, though). Again, I tried it out with my German and despite my awful accent, it still understood it and translated it perfectly.
You can get it to read out the translation of what you’ve put into it, as well, so you could effectively get it to act as a complete interpreter!
There have been websites and so on that can do translation for years, but I must admit this works much better than ones I’ve tried in the past – definitely worth a look if you travel abroad.
Of course, it’s not as good as someone who’s properly fluent. I’m sure it would miss subtle nuances sometimes, or misunderstand turns of phrase. But it’s better than nothing if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language – or even as a backup if you do speak it, but not as well as you’d like!
Very handy and I’ll definitely remember it next time I’m abroad… except I’m planning for my next holiday to be to Australia so I won’t need any translation! I did try putting “G’day” in it, just to test it out but it didn’t translate that. I think I’ll manage without it!