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What'd He Say?

What'd He Say?
by Gary Woods

When you're traveling the language barrier can be huge. If you're looking for a bathroom hopping around on one foot and pointing may get the idea across but then what do you do with the information that the person trying to assist you conveys?

If you're an iPad or iPhone user however there are some options. For the princely sum of $19.99 for the iPhone and $27.99 for the iPad you can get SpeechTrans Ultimate. This app lets you talk into your iPhone in one language and then hear the translation in another. Then, once you've told the person what you want you can record them and then hear the translation. The company claims 95 percent speech recognition accuracy.

There's also a Facebook Chat features that lets you input via voice and then outputs via voice translations enabling you to communicate with speakers of other language around the world.

The app recognizes English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian and it can speak back a translation in these languages plus Russian, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese and Polish.

The downside is that in addition to the cost of the app you also pay for the transcriptions. The app price includes 400 transcriptions; beyond that you'll need to use in-app purchases which range from 30 transcriptions for $0.99 to 50 for $9.99.

If all that is too pricey for you check out Google Translate which is a free app. It also offers speech recognition and voice output. The other vendors claim that the Google speech recognition isn't quite as good as their but it seemed to work alright for me.

So, if you're getting ready for a trip in a foreign land where you don't know the language, check out SpeechTrans Ultimate or Google Translate.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc