It’s happened to every tourist in a foreign land at least once; they want to fit in with locals, to speak the language. One minute, the tourist in Greece innocently attempts to say “Good Morning,” (kalimera), and the next, they’re left wondering why their native conversation partner has left in a huff. If you’re curious, kalimera can easily be mispronounced as calamari, and the last thing you want to do is call your new friend a squid by mistake!
Fortunately, these embarrassing mistakes are becoming less common with the advent of translation mobile app development for almost all mobile platforms. No longer are you required to lug those cumbersome bilingual dictionaries as you tour breathtaking museums and ruins.
There are many different translation apps that are available, each with their own pros and cons.
Google Translate, for example, has a wide range of languages, over fifty in fact, to choose from and can translate while you speak into your mobile device’s microphone. Unfortunately, it also requires an Internet connection.
There’s also iSpeak, which allows you to hear words and phrases recorded by native speakers of the language desired, so those calamari insults can be kept to a minimum. Only fourteen languages are currently available for translation, but more are in development according to its creator, Future Apps.
The most recently developed and advanced, in my opinion, translation app would be Word Lens. This app takes a screenshot of what you want to translate, be it a road sign, billboard, or magazine cover, and translates it in real-time. An Internet connection is not required with this app. These translations are often literal and lack the nuances of the native language, which can cause confusion if the text is complicated or contains native slang.
As a tourist in Germany myself a few years ago, I still kick myself for leaving my iTouch with iSpeak at home. I’m sure it would have saved me time, suitcase space, and giggles from the locals as I flipped nervously through my dictionary and mispronounced words left and right. Who knows what I was actually saying? I certainly don’t! I’ve learned from my mistake and will remember to pack my iTouch for my next trip…especially if it’s to Greece.
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