Electronic Dictionaries and Translators
There is nothing quite as embarrassing as going to a foreign country and not understanding a word of what anyone else is saying. One of my favorite personal incidents was trying repeatedly to push my way out the door of a small bakery I had stopped in. Clearly, what looked like "push" was actually pull. It could have been worse I could have walked into the men's room thinking that it was for ladies. Thankfully I ran into some English speakers who helped me out on my journey. Now, if I had remembered to bring along my trusty pocket translator with me I would have had a much easier time.
There are different types of translators
: monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual. But first, what is the difference between the two?
Electronic Dictionary vs. Electronic Translator
Which do you choose?
* Beginners, or those with no prior knowledge of the language(s) to be used usually need an electronic translator and not a dictionary. They are often the preferred device for travelers. They are also useful if you work in the civil service sector, security, or any other occupation which requires interacting with people who may or may not speak English. Instead of playing charades, you have quick and easy communication help at your fingertips.
** Translators offer easily organized thematic subjects (such as hotel, restaurant, airport, etc.) for finding commonly used expressions or phrases.
** Each expression is usually accompanied with a pronunciation guide.
** Some models offer a search enhanced by phonetic spelling recognition, so if you hear a word, but you don't know the proper spelling because you are unfamiliar with the language's alphabet, you can still find the word you need to translate.
* Those experienced with the basics of the language they wish to decipher are best off with an electronic dictionary. This usually means that you have either studied the language or that you are currently studying the language. It may also mean that you are already a speaker of that language.
** Dictionaries give a quick and easy way to find the word you need.
** The database has a wide range of words and instead of focusing on offering lists of helpful travel phrases.
Monolingual, Bilingual, and Multilingual
What's the difference between these models and why choose one type over the other?
* Monolingual Dictionaries
** Essentially this is a hardbound dictionary turned digital, giving you a lightweight, portable, yet comprehensive dictionary to take with you on the go.
** Good for both intermediate or advanced students and professionals.
** Used either for a native language or for one which you have already been studying for awhile.
** These models have the largest number of entries out of all electronic dictionary/translator models.
* Bilingual Dictionaries
** Picture your Spanish/English dictionary in digital. Lightweight, but functional, and full-featured.
** Perfect for people who have experience studying a foreign language.
** Not suited for travellers planning to visit many countries with different spoken languages.
** Database is usually expandable.
models are preferred so that you can search for words in either of the languages.
** Ideal for a multi-country trip or for those who plan on taking a few trips to different countries at different times.
** Perfect for backpacking in Europe or study abroad.
** Most models have a limited number of dictionary entries to accommodate all the most necessary words and phrases from many languages.
** Not recommended for serious language students.
Features, Extras, Formats
* '''Talking Translators'''
** Translators often have a voice translation along with a visual translation. However, scanners
can pick up written text from any printed document and then translate the results onto a small LCD screen. Some models even speak the results. Some may also allow manual word entry via an "OptiCard".
** The most expensive and multi-purpose model available comes in the form of a smartphone
. Check out this smartphone buying guide
to learn more about them.
Some Brands Worth Looking Into
: the widest range of products
* Speech Guard