by Tony Rushin
My daughter, Hannah, is a junior at Auburn and has been studying (full immersion) this summer at the University of Salamanca in Spain. This has created a perfect opportunity for the rest of the family to join her for a week when she’s done with classes in late July. Hannah will be an excellent translator when she’s with us. However, even in Spain (perhaps especially in Spain), 20 and 21 year olds (my son, Jerod, will also be on the trip) don’t always want to hang with their parents. My wife, Luann, and I have been listening to some Spanish conversation CDs but our vocabulary is extremely limited so we’ll have to cope if Hannah’s not around.
Google Translate to the rescue! I listed this app as one of my personal favorites in last week’s Tuesday Tip: Great $19.99 iPad Investment. It’s a free app that I’ve had installed on my iPhone for several months (I use it to test my not-so-great Spanish diction). It has a simple interface – speak or type – and translation is presented in text and audio.
Now for a quick tour. Here’s the home page when you open the app:
The easiest way to translate is to select the microphone and speak. When you do this you’ll get two screens in succession that look like this:
And then, about 3 seconds after you’ve stopped speaking, the following screen comes up:
If you click on the speaker symbol it will speak the translated phrase to you.
In addition to English and Spanish there are about 60 other languages supported. Also, the app has some good features. I especially like the history it saves – you may have noticed this on my home page above. Having a list of my past phrases is handy – I’m using it to build a quick “cheat sheet” of common phrases for our trip.