One of the biggest deterrents to traveling abroad, for me, is the fear that I will be stuck in a foreign country without any way of communicating with anybody. Without some prior knowledge of a country’s language, the number of crises that can arise are numerous and fairly intimidating. If that’s something that niggles you, Jourist Verlags GmbH’s helpful app, Travel Interpreter, may be worth a listen.
Travel Interpreter is preloaded with more than 2,100 phrases and words…for each of the 24 languages featured. Twenty-four! Each phrase or word comes with the translation, native spelling (along with phonetic characters, for languages that don’t use the English alphabet), and a spoken example by a native speaker. All of this is stored in-app, so it’s little wonder that the app is so huge. However, this also means that you won’t be reliant on an internet connection to use this app, which would be a relief in places with a shoddy signal (or none at all).
After choosing a language, you are taken to a list of topics, which further branch out into subtopics. Once you tap on a phrase or word in the subtopics, an illustrated example of the phrase will pop up, as well as the accompanying sound bite. Tap the Play button to replay, or use the arrows to move back and forth on list. If you have the need to hear that particular phrase in another language, just tap the Globe button on the top right to bring up the list of languages again, and it will be said in whatever other language you choose. Have some headphones handy to really catch all the nuances.
The sheer amount of phrases and languages included in Travel Interpreter is awesome. Everything from “good afternoon” to “where is the nearest ear specialist?” can be learned. As you can probably tell by the last example, this app gets quite specific in its phrases, and I’d like to see more of the basics in there. I appreciate all the textual guides, and I love listening to the native speakers (which, judging from just the Asian languages, they really are) because it makes me feel like I’m learning from as many angles as possible; aural direction is especially important in learning new languages.
The illustrations are done well, and are subsequently quite complementary to the audio. Unfortunately, Travel Interpreter clocks in at a hefty $9.99, which I feel is a bit much at this stage…but I do feel better knowing that it’s in my pocket. Note: for the $9.99 price you do get both the iPhone and iPad versions of Travel Interpreter as a universal binary.
Here is a video demo of the Travel Interpreter app on the iPhone
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