Thursday, October 29, 2009

New iPhone App Translates English-to-Spanish And Back, As You Speak

A new iPhone app, Jibbigo, translates English-to-Spanish and back again, but does it without requiring the user to select phrases or enter them manually with the keyboard. Instead, you simply launch the $24.99 app and speak into your iPhone's microphone and the translation is played over the speaker.

Only on the faster iPhone 3GS is the app truly handy. With the newest of Apple's smartphones, the app can handle translating both languages simultaneously. That's nice because that's usually how a conversation happens.

With older iPhones, sadly, you have to choose a "direction" of translation when starting the app and have to back out and restart the app to reverse the translation. In other words, it's kind of lame on anything but a 3GS.

Here's how the application is described on the App Store:
Jibbigo is not a dictionary and not a phrase book, but a speech translator: You simply speak a sentence in English or Spanish into Jibbigo, and it speaks the sentence aloud in the other language, much like a personal human interpreter would. Jibbigo also shows the recognition and translation in English and Spanish as text on the app screen, so you can be sure your translation is accurate to what you spoke.

Jibbigo is bi-directional; it translates a spoken sentence from English to Spanish or from Spanish to English for a two way dialog between English and Spanish speakers (Bi-directional operation is available on 3Gs only. Older iphone models, 3G phones and iPod Touch run uni-directionally; the language direction is chosen at start-up.).

Best of all, Jibbigo runs completely on your iPhone and does not connect to remote servers via data-communication links. There are no connection delays, no roaming charges and no disconnects! That means your pocket interpreter does not disappear on you during foreign travel when you need it the most.

To use Jibbigo: simply hold down the record button and speak. Then let Jibbigo translate and speak the translation aloud. It’s really that easy.
I have to admit, this intrigues me, although not Spanish. Give me French, German, or Polish (yes, Polish; my wife is Polish) and I'm in (they are working on more languages). I have to say, though, that $25 is a little pricey for a single language.

The first step toward Star Trek's universal translator? It could be.
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