Are Language Translation Apps Ready for Prime Time?

Sections: Cellphones, Communications, Mobile, Mobile Computers, Smartphones, Web

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The Colosseum credit: Aaron Logan

My minor was German in college. The coursework was difficult and demanding. The obvious lack of native speakers in the US made studying a challenge. I found myself checking my work on Google Translate. Results were mixed. The grammar was often shoddy and some words didn’t register at all. I quickly abandoned the application.

My experience with Google Translate was four years ago. Since then, developers large and small have improved language translation applications, making them more robust.  Now one can use a translation app to supplement their foreign experience.

But how do they really work in the wild? Are these applications powerful enough to replace a fluent foreign companion, or should you reserve them for basic questions such as “Where is the bathroom?”

MIT Technology Review’s Rachel Metz has exhaustively reviewed three iPhone and Android applications in situations where they would be needed most.  The apps are SayHi Translate, Google Translate, and Mantaphrase.  I’ll let you decide if they’re useful enough to adequately navigate a completely foreign context.  Check out Rachel’s experience at the link below.

Via [MIT Technology Review]

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