I’ve been recently looking for a good, electronic translator to buy. Why? Well… I’ve been learning some foreign languages, but the results are mediocre. And I need to because I travel a lot. Both for fun and for business. Even though most of my business partners speak English, we do have situations in which we simply cannot get across. If you’ve ever tried to speak to a Chinese – you’ll know what I mean.
While on holidays, in most places I can ask for a coffee, order lunch or buy a souvenir speaking English. Still… it gets more difficult to ask a stranger for a way, to buy fresh food on a local market, not to mention any exchange of worldviews. Wouldn’t be very interesting to get to know the story of an old Mongolian man’s life? At least I love such stories and unfortunately miss them all the time.
Thus, I started my research on translation devices. In my youth, I’ve seen electronic dictionaries but what I found out now – this is pure science-fiction. I came across a bunch of the so called voice translators. You will quickly find them on Amazon and you’ll get lost as quickly as you found them. Why? Because there are so many! You wouldn’t believe! That’s why I started digging. I always need to know more and I always need to do my research because this is who I am. And I would like to share the results of my research today.
First of all, the old electronic translators you probably remember had some databases of words uploaded and used them to translate single words or even sentences on a basis of simple algorithms. Results were bad… mildly saying.
Nowadays, translation engines seem to work a different way. They scan huge amounts of translated texts in search for the best possible match. Stop here. Do you know how huge these amounts are? So huge, that it is not yet possible to put it on a mobile device. That’s why I need to disappoint you. If you’re looking for something that will translate offline and the translation will be accurate – you won’t find it. I guess that somebody will do it quicker than we think but at the moment – nada!
All of the translators available on Amazon, Ebay, webshops etc. need the Internet. Why? Because the Internet allows them to access the data aforementioned. As a result, translations are so great and they get better.
Second of all, I took into consideration HOW those devices connect to the Internet. And you know what? Most of them could be thrown away immediately. They need WiFi. Do you know how hard it is to get WiFi in the middle of Albanian nowhere? Sometimes it’s even difficult to get one in Downtown Manhattan! I had to reject most of the findings from the first page of Amazon. Then, I left with a few that can use a SIM card and just one that had this SIM card included! Fortunately, someone intelligent added a card that can be used everywhere and at the lowest possible costs. But I didn’t finish my research with this one. I ordered a couple of Amazon stuff to get familiar with the range of translators. My findings astonished me. A device called by its seller “instant offline translator” appeared to be an online one and translating in just one direction! What a stupid thing. You can say something to a Japanese but you’ll never understand the answer! The rest of them were not as bad as this one, but translation was mediocre… sometimes even awful. How do I know? I told you at the beginning that I’ve been learning foreign languages all my life.
I returned all of them and I started to look at those “in progress”. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are full of this stuff. Give me money and you’ll understand your French girlfriend! Pay me and I’ll give you an earphone translator! Yeah… sure… can you also give me a spaceship and send me to Mars?
I’ll clarify this for you. THEY DO NOT EXISTS! THE DO NOT WORK THE WAY YOU THINK! I dare to say most of them are FRAUD! Never donate them or you’ll regret it.
Finally, finally, I ordered the one I mentioned with the SIM card. It’s called a Vasco translator. It works. It’s not as good as I could imagine it might be (I always expect too much I guess) but it works. The SIM card allows me to use it everywhere. It works fast and in most cases it’s very accurate, especially when translating to English or from English to French, German, Italian.
Recently I used it in Poland. Have you ever heard a Pole speaking? If not, you should. I guess this is the most difficult language to understand. I wouldn’t even dare learning it. And you know what? My voice translator did it for me. I could freely have a conversation with a Pole. It was really nice.
It was so nice that I don’t regret those couple of dollars I spent more on Vasco than I could’ve spent for other stuff. I know it because I tested it. If you don’t believe me – you should try it yourself.