What is a Global Translator?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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A global translator refers to several related products that help people translate words or phrases from one language to another. Travelers find handheld translators highly useful on trips when they want to ask questions or get help, though the translator doesn’t help in interpreting answers unless a person can spell and type in the language he’s hearing. Alternately, website owners could be interested in global translator software because this allows owners to take their sites global to attract an international audience. Such software is available in free downloadable forms and for sale.

Many differences exist in the types and capacities of handheld global translators. Some machines translate a few simple words and phrases in just a couple of common languages. Others feature larger databases, more languages, and come with extras such as voice recognition or they play translations out loud so people can be sure to pronounce them properly.

Several things determine the usefulness of a handheld global translator, but language choice is tantamount. Though the name, global translators, sounds all-inclusive, it really isn’t, and many translators have ten or fewer languages, which may or may not be adequate. Clearly, any translator has to feature the languages most desired, and there are some good ones that have several dialects of Chinese, Indian and et cetera. Diverse languages are only worth having if they’re needed, and a good single language translator (like English to French) may be a better choice for some.


A global translator that has pronunciation and audible translations is also worth considering if language pronunciation is extremely difficult. Alternately, finding a translator with phonetic spellings or pronunciation guides is useful. People with some language familiarity might not need these features if they have the basics down on pronunciation. Other things that help determine worth of handhelds are things like size of database. Smaller databases are cheaper, but they may not be as helpful.

The software based global translator is of particular help for people who want to convert websites into multiple languages, and there are a few translators on sites like Google® that people with PDAs or smartphones could access with WiFi. For extensive conversion of text, these free translation tools online can be time-consuming, though a couple of free programs exist that reduce this work. People might consider software that allows conversion of text to a number of languages. Searching through tech review sites may help people determine the best products, and probably the most important feature is extremely large databases.

Some expressions on software or handheld global translators don’t translate well. It’s hard to translate idiomatic expressions, and they may end up sounding like nonsense. For translators to work best, especially for website owners, language should be simple and free of these expressions. This is often hard to achieve, and people translating whole documents, even when using good software, may end up with senseless translations. Paying for translation services is another option that is likely to present ideas more clearly and professionally.


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