This language translation system is the one you will want to take with you when you travel. It is far more powerful than a mere dictionary, for it has the ability to translate whole steams of text. It handles English, French, German, and Spanish translations between any pairs.
It is simple to use. Simply select the language pair, input the text to translate in the upper screen panel, and tap on the Translate button. The translation will appear in the lower panel of the screen.
The question is how accurate is it, and how well does it handle complex sentences? I suppose the best answer is that you can make yourself understood using simple sentences without any kind of vernacular whatsoever. If it doesn’t understand a term, it will use the original word in the translation. This seems to happen regularly if you use slang, 50-cent words, or abstract concepts.
I tested it extensively using English-Spanish-English with the results reported above. Those are the only two languages I have any real knowledge of.
I have a lawyer friend who is also a German professor. I started sending her text messages in German derived from the WCI application just for fun. Most of the time I was able to communicate satisfactorily on a simple level (Do you want to go to lunch?), but once in a while I got myself into trouble. I guess I surprised her because she didn’t think I could speak German, which of course I can’t. But she told me I probably wouldn’t pass one of her introductory German classes.
My only retort was to call her a stuffy old professor. I told her she should cut me some slack for attempting to communicate semi-successfully. She decided to give me an A for effort. We both agreed that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to translate a legal document with this program.
When you consider that language is such a complex system with so many shades of meaning and grammatical/structural possibilities, this application does a pretty remarkable job as long as you keep it simple and straightforward. Don’t plan on cussing anyone out with this traslator. It is extremely modest and simply won’t do it. But if you want to ask directions, acquire accommodations, and get something to eat, you should fare pretty well. Just don’t get philosophical or try to wax eloquent. In fact, it could not translate, “Don’t get philosophical.” It obviously needs a bigger vocabulary.
This product comes in several flavors and works with WM 5/6 touch and non-touch screens, Pocket PC 2003, and Windows Desktop. The handheld versions cost $19.95 for one language pair or $39.95 for all four languages. The desktop version is $24.95 per language pair and $49.95 for all four languages. You may buy it at www.worldconceptsinc.com.