- By John Breeden II
- Jun 05, 2003
French, Spanish, English translator for Palm or Pocket PC
Quelle heure est-il? If you can't read the question, you could make use of Translator from Global Star Software of Mississauga, Ontario, for either your Pocket PC or Palm system.
It's not exactly a Star Trek universal translator, but it will give you a basic understanding of what to say and when. There are 47,000 English-to-Spanish phrases in the dictionary and 79,000 English-to-French phrases. The translation works both ways, but it's helpful to have a basic understanding of the language if you are going to be moving from the translated language back to English.
The program works by letting you scroll through phrases stored in alphabetical order and also grouped by category. Once you find the phrase you need, similar phrases are grouped around it so you can hone your exact meaning. The opening question for this review, 'What time is it?' can thus be easily distinguished from 'What time does this event start?'
The program also does a good job letting a user know that phrases said can have multiple meanings. Different possible meanings are displayed, so if you at first think that you are being insulted, you might want to scroll down to see what else a chosen phrase can mean.
Although a basic understanding of the language you want to translate from is helpful, the program attempts to help you out if your spelling is not perfect. Just try your best to get the spelling right, and the program will probably direct you to something that works.
The one thing I would have liked to see is more phonetic pronunciations. Spanish has some sounds, such as the rolling R, that don't have much of an English equivalent. But aside from that, Translator is a great tool for international travelers, or perhaps just for people who might interact with non-English speaking people. Price:
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.