A recent survey conducted by a booking site found out that one of the reasons why adults don’t travel abroad is the language barrier. Travelers would often find themselves from the airport to hotel check-in and even when going around having a hard time talking to the people they need to communicate with.
When you travel abroad, you have no choice but to talk with the locals for your basic needs and if you have a language barrier with the country you are in, it would be extremely difficult for you.
Workable tech solutions include using a translator app in your phone or if you have money to burn, get those highly inaccurate and expensive handheld translators to help you explore around. I was embarrassed when I tried to impress our tour guide in Seoul, Korea using a handheld translator. It gave a really bad translation that the tour guide was shocked and then laughed when she realized that the voice came from a handheld translator. Translator apps are okay if you only need to translate words, but if you need to explain something to the locals, the results could be confusing.
When on business trips there is a need to talk to more than one person simultaneously, making the phone translator app or a handheld translator useless.
The problem with apps and handheld translators is that they are only focused on the translation itself. Handheld translators need to be passed back & forth, you have to press buttons and you need to hold the device close to the speaker’s mouth. This is not practical when you need to use it for a long time and with the risk of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is dangerous and should be avoided. Phone apps for both Android and iOS have the same problems. Also, it does not have the capability to translate and transcribe making it unusable in long conversations that need to be translated.
Just recently, Timekettle Technologies a company founded in 2016 crowdfunded on Indiegogo a promising translator that won’t have the limitations of an app or a handheld translator. The funding goal was US$25,000 and just after two months, the funding reached more than US$500,000 and got more than 6000 backers. I got my unit recently and immediately tried it.
With a light metal body, size of 4cm x 1.5cm x 7mm, and inserted into a case just almost the size of a business card I could not even feel that it’s there. It can be easily stored in your bag, wallet, or even inside your shirt pocket without any footprint.
I installed the Zero on my Huawei P40 Pro. Installation was fast, the app is available from Google Play Store and Huawei App Gallery. Just insert the device in your phone, click the app and you now have the most accurate and most powerful translator in your hands.
The Zero translator offers three modes — meeting, interview, and translation modes.
It has four high-quality microphone arrays with noise cancellation and advanced voice recognition features, very useful in meeting mode where it can detect the voices of up to four speakers. The four-microphone array covers all the angles that you just need to put the Zero on the table and let it work.
The interview mode detects two voices, records the conversation, and with just a click transcribes the conversation for the user to store or send via email. “The Zero will instantly record the interview, separate the voices of the interviewer and the interviewee, and store the conversation to the phone where the Zero is connected”.
Translation mode is a simple translation feature if you need fast but accurate translations. This is useful to travelers who need to ask for direction or look for something. Timekettle said, “Simply plug-in ZERO into your phone and begin speaking. In real-time, ZERO will accurately record, translate, and present your sentences directly onto the screen of your smartphone to make it easy for everyone to understand and to keep track of what’s been said.” I tried this and was happy with the results, I tried from English to Filipino and the translation was almost perfect.
The Zero translator so far is the best translator that I tried. What I’m impressed about the Zero translator is not only the feature where it could store all the conversations and the option to either save it for future use or to send the logs via email, but also the simplicity of user experience and most of all the accuracy of translations that it gave me.
If you want to bring the Zero Translator next time you travel, it is now available on Timekettle Web Store. You can get a 20% off by using the OFFcode 20MBPH when you order at https://www.timekettle.co/products/zero-portable-mini-translator.