Learning a second language offers an individual a number of challenges:

  • What language should you learn ?
  • How are you going to learn (or master) it ?
  • How much time are you going to dedicate to learning this language
  • How often do you plan on speaking this language?

But what if you only speak one language and find yourself in a situation (such as a business trip or vacation) where it would be advantageous to know enough about the language to:

  • Ask where the bathroom is?
  • Find out the closet bank?
  • Ask for directions ?

And even if you knew HOW to say these phrases .. would you be able to understand the RESPONSES?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to a technology that could assist you in the translation process?   Well just recently a mobile application was updated that shows the future of “personal translation” devices that may help you “Keep Pace” with foreign languages!

What is the technology?

Google (yes the search company Google) has provided a FREE web site since 2007 called Google Translate that allows any individual to:

  • Select a “from”  language
  • Select a “to”  language
  • Type in a phrase to be translated

When the “Translate” button is pressed, Google Translate will:

  • Translate the typed phrase into the “to” language
  • Generate a sound file that contains the spoken version of the translated phrase

To try Google Translate for yourself, it is accessible at:

http://translate.google.com

But wait !! – There’s more !

Google has created a Google Translate application that works on mobile devices such as the Android.   While the mobile version of Google Translate provides the same functionality as web site, the mobile version leverages the phone’s built in functionality of allowing the user to speak a phrase rather than type it.

While this functionality alone is useful (some may say impressive) Google has just recently updated the mobile application to include a new option called “Conversation Mode”.   Conversation mode takes this idea one step further:

  • As an individual talks into the phone, the Android phone will convert your spoken words into text.
  • Google Translate will take that text, translate it and then “speak” out the translated phrase
  • The twist is that when the OTHER person responds,  Google Translate will reverse the translation process !!

Conversation mode is still in its early stages, so this version is limited to English and Spanish languages only.   But it demonstrates that  “personal translators” could be a common technology in the very near future.

How can you “Keep Pace” with this Technology?

If you have an Android class phone, you can download the “Google Translate” application to your phone for free and then you can start using it immediately!

Just find a friend that can speak the other language than you (English / Spanish) and start experimenting !

To “Keep Pace” with future entries