Language Scientific was founded in 1999 by a group of international scientists and engineers. The company was born out of the group’s frustration with the inaccurate technical and scientific translations they discovered while working together on a nuclear non-proliferation project for the US Department of Energy. Today, Language Scientific has grown to include over 5,000 highly specialized translators.
I do wish it did more. The company is very pro one-way translation. Their arguments are valid, but I still think it’d be useful for the other person to be understood as well. It’d be easy enough to say, and have ili translate “press the button and say small sentences,” or something similar, to get the person understand how to use it and to keep it simple. This isn’t as huge of a complaint as it might seem, though, since like I said above, it’s remarkable what one can accomplish with hand gestures. So many travel interactions require simple, easily-understood responses, that getting yourself understood is way more than 50% of any interaction.
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The palm-sized ECTACO Partner 900 is ideal for those interested in learning Spanish. It instantly converts voice text by repeating it aloud or speaking it in Spanish or English, and also has a roster of other features to help you learn the language. Take a photo of text (such as a restaurant menu) and it instantly converts it to English (an Internet connection is required for this part of the program). There’s also a talking picture dictionary and phrasebook, as well as a full language-learning program with linguistic crosswords and pronunciation assistance. The translator measures 6 x 3.5 x 0.7 inches and weighs 9.8 ounces.
The next question you want to ask yourself is whether you need an electronic translator that recognizes speech. Thanks to the growing development in technology it is now possible to speak directly into your electronic translator and receive an automated translation in the other language of choice. Sounds incredible? Well, it is. Say “good afternoon” and you’ll hear "konnichiwa" back in Japanese. It’s important to note that speech recognition is quite a new technology and it still requires an Internet connection for accurate translations.
Website translation: A great website translation will include localization to accurately communicate your intended message. JR Language Translation Services can help you translate one page of your website or they can translate your website in its entirety. They are even able to offer multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services to help your website’s rankings.
I’m split on the ili in two ways. I travel a lot. For the last 3+ years I’ve spent extended time in over 30 countries across 5 continents. In all that time I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve needed any translator. While Mandarin is the most-spoken first language in the world (Spanish being second), English is by far the most prevalent second language. It’s essentially the lingua franca of the world, especially in touristy places. In the times during my travels there was no common language between me and someone, a big smile and hand gestures worked wonders. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335266/
TransBox: One Hour Translation developed TransBox to help businesses who frequently communicate with foreign language speakers over email. This unique system helps bridge the language gap between the email sender and reader. A client can email you in one language, and you will respond in your native language after having the original email translated by a human translator. The whole process takes only a few hours for a short email exchange.
It was actually making the video that brought me around on the ili. How well it worked, understanding what I said and quickly translating it, all without the help of the Internet, that was pretty neat. Right now, I can see this coming in handy for a lot of people. In the near future, though, I’m positive Trek’s Universal Translator, or the Babel fish, or C-3P0, will all definitely be possible soon.
As a translator that can recognize and convert spoken language, the Pulomi TT is a useful tool for any international traveler. This super-compact device slips into your pocket or purse so you can translate anywhere, anytime. Download the TT app, connect your phone to the device via Bluetooth and instantly translate between 52 different languages, including Japanese, German, Arabic, Hindi, and many more (it does require an Internet connection to work). The TT uses a high-fidelity microphone to record the foreign language and then speaks the translation back, in addition to sending a text transcription to your phone. This makes it a very helpful device for travelers, and particularly useful to those who are trying to learn another language.
Join the tens of thousands of people making the wealth of information on the internet accessible to everyone. There are many opportunities to volunteer. Organizations, like TED Talks, Scientific American, Net in Nederlands, and Udacity are just a few. Others, such as the Captions Requested team ensure videos are accessible to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Gregg Parker is a writer and puppy enthusiast who divides his time between Los Angeles and the rest of the world. A graduate of the University of Southern California, his eclectic career has involved positions in education, health care, entertainment, nonprofit fundraising, technology, and literature. A points and miles expert, he's well-versed in all topics related to travel, including luggage and travel accessories. Other areas of expertise include pet care products, teaching resources, kitchen appliances, and anything related to coffee or barbecue.