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How Do I Choose the Best Electronic Translator?

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  • Written By: Hillary Flynn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2014
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Electronic translators are handy gadgets that allow users to look up words in their own language to find comparable words and phrases in languages which they do not speak. This is a great tool for international travelers, business professionals who need to translate documents written in other languages, or anyone who wishes to learn a new language. An electronic translator may also be referred to as a pocket translator, speaking dictionary, or electronic dictionary. To choose the best electronic translator, you must first decide which features are necessary for the intended purpose.

One great feature to look for is full text translation. This allows the user to type in random phrases and receive results based on the best match for the words provided. Some translators do not have this feature and translation is limited to individual words or specific phrases programmed by the creator. Speech recognition is another high tech feature, but some misunderstand its use. At this time, language is much too complex to allow a pocket-sized device to actually understand random spoken phrases and translate them into other languages. Many of the electronic translators do have a feature that allows the device to recognize specific, pre-programmed phrases that are spoken by the user.

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Language learners will also benefit by a speech recognition feature that allows the electronic translator to judge the accuracy of foreign words spoken by the learner. This entails the user reading a word provided by the device that is displayed on the screen. The best devices will also allow for expandable vocabulary. Usually, an electronic translator with this feature will require a Secure Digital (SD) or Multimedia Card (MMC). Some electronic translators may also allow connection to a computer via a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port. This enables the user to add files and sync data used by additional features such as calendar organizers and address books.

The best electronic organizers for traveling will include maps, city directories, and geographic information that will help the traveler find the best spots and successfully communicate with locals. Depending on personal preference, some may also find an electronic translator with advanced audio, video, and graphics features will add to the language experience and help both the traveler and language learner to connect to the selected language and learn at a faster pace. Electronic translators have a number of advanced features, and choosing the best electronic translator for one individual is mostly dependent on that person's preferences.

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anon343287
Post 3

This is awesome! I wish I had seen this first because I think I looked 1,000 places before I finally found an electronic translator that worked for me.

pleonasm
Post 2

@browncoat - It's true, there's nothing that will substitute for a smile when it comes to trying to make yourself understood in a foreign language.

But, those electronic language translators can be a godsend if you are traveling across Europe or Asia and going from country to country in a short amount of time.

Sometimes, no matter how good your intentions are, you just need a little gadget to tell you how to ask for the toilets.

And it can help you to be polite as well.

I once was given water by some local women who must have been able to tell that I was really thirsty, and I was really happy to be able to thank them lavishly, rather than just smiling and nodding my head.

browncoat
Post 1

Although electronic translators are becoming more and more sophisticated, you should beware of relying on them too much. It's much easier in the long run to try and learn certain words and phrases in the local language.

Not only will this make it quicker to get from A to Z, but the locals will appreciate it more!

Besides, as smart as the translators are getting, they still come up with some crazy translations. Aside from standard phrases which were preentered into the software, I wouldn't trust them to get anything completely correct.

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