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Top 3 Language Translation Traveller Apps

In today’s digitally connected age we are fortunate to have connectivity and access to our smart phone/tablet of choice virtually everywhere we travel. Regardless of location, in most instances we will be able to utilise our smart phones and tablets in some capacity. One of the advantages of this new era in technology is that the savvy traveller can now take advantage of the many wonderful applications designed to enhance any type of trip. When it comes to traveling to new lands it is always handy to have easy to use, informative and fast language translation tools at your fingertips.

As technology tears down cultural boundaries it is now becoming much easier to communicate across borders. Smart phones and tablets are now more then ever before allowing for language barriers to be broken in ways we never once imagined. If you’re like me and seem to not be able to go anywhere without your personal electronic devices then this is a great opportunity to review some of top language translation applications currently available.

Obviously (and I’m not just saying this because I’m biased) none of these will replace or do the same job as a professional translator or interpreter. But if you need to get by and/or want to have some fun while you’re on your travels these will help. So here you go… 3 language translation apps for the modern traveller. Read more

Cheese rolling

Unusual Festivals From Around the World

The world can be a strange place, take a look at some of these unusual festivals taking place all around planet Earth. There’s are so many more, so if you’ve been to, or know of, any we’ve missed let us know in the comments at the end and we’ll set about building the greatest bucket list of weird and wonderful celebrations…

Here goes, brace yourselves…. Read more

Where Are You Spending Christmas?

From Athens to Tokyo, Moscow to Christchurch, Vienna to Washington, on the 25th of December, a lot of people are going to celebrate Christmas, some under the sun or the snow, around a homemade meal or at a nice restaurant, with family members or friends, exchanging gifts or greetings cards. Some like traditional and other prefer unusual but no matter where you are in the world, it’s this time of the year when you have to share and give, time to be reunited with the people you care, time to make new wishes, time to enjoy the present.  For those of you who might look for a unique place to spend Christmas this year, here are the 10 top destinations in the world.

Caribbean Islands

2500 mile-long chain of islands, crystal blue sea, best beaches in the world, peace…Caribbean will definitely be the experience of a lifetime.

Goa (India)

People never think of India as a Christmas destination but to tell you the truth, the best of sun, sand, and exquisite seafood is there. Goa, known for its modern life and historical legacy seems the ideal state to get the stress of your daily life out of your system.

Holland

Fancy a cosy Christmas with your family? With its picturesque countryside, huge farm lands and large fields of colourful tulips, Holland is the place to experience the rustic lifestyle and a peaceful Christmas.

Las Vegas

So this year, you feel more like a player and just want to spend some good times?  Well my friend, Vegas is where you need to be if you want to spend your days in Casinos surrounded by hot blond girls trying to win the big bucks! Read more

A Gaijin in Tokyo

A Gaijin in Tokyo

In our last article, Alison noted how lazy we Brits are when it comes to getting a handle on the native language when preparing to travel abroad. From my own experience I’ve seen just how extensive this can be and I’m guilty as charged.

In both 2011 and 2012 I travelled to Tokyo for a combined total of 5 weeks. As a generally reserved chap, I wanted to try and make sure that I could be polite and avoid any basic cultural faux pas. So I learnt how to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” & gave myself a crash course in Japanese numeracy and most important of all, ensured I could order a beer. A bit of light reading from a guide book and off I went.
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It's the year of the snake!

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year, a festive event celebrated by people all around the world (the image above was taken in Yokohama, Japan). As you may well know, the Chinese New Year is represented by one of 12 different animals which cycle annually, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, the pig, the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon and the snake.

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Plane-translation-mistake

Lost In Translation: French Panic On Plane

French passengers on board an Aer Lingus Dublin to Paris flight had a fright when the captain made a routine announcement earlier this week.

On the 4th August the A320 Airbus flight took off with around 70 people on board many of whom were French.

Twenty minutes into the flight after leaving Dublin, an English announcement was made that the plane was due to hit some turbulence and could all passengers return to their seats and belt up. Air Lingus Airlines then played a pre-recorded message for the French passengers.

Unfortunately the pre-recorded message told the French passengers that the plane was coming down and they should prepare to ditch!

One passenger is quoted in the Irish Examiner newspaper today saying that there was a French gentleman sitting next to him on the plane who was asleep. As soon as the announcement was made the man sat up looking very startled.

The announcement translated into English as ‘prepare for an emergency landing, note where the nearest emergency exit is and wait for further instructions from the captain.’

Scary stuff considering they were flying out over the Atlantic at the time. It’s reported that it took the cabin crew a few minutes to figure out what had happened. They immediately made an announcement via the PA system apologising for playing the wrong announcement in French.

Thankfully it wasn’t a real emergency but it would have been very scary for all the people involved.

Notes from Hong Kong

Notes from Hong Kong

This week we have an interesting piece for the language blog from one of our exceptional team members, Liz Kim. After a whirlwind tour of Hong Kong, here’s Liz’s write up of the attractions she encountered in one of the world’s most impressive cities. Over to Liz…

Hong Kong is a fascinating, vibrant and exciting place to visit. It’s cosmopolitan yet integrally Chinese. 95% of its’ 7.1 million inhabitants are Chinese, and the city is constantly fuelled by newcomers from across the border. Now officially a Special Administrative Region of China with one of the highest population densities in the world but at the same time it is efficient, clean and very well organised. It was originally built by pirates, merchants and adventurers in the pursuit of wealth, the top dollar is still the main preoccupation of its current inhabitants. Nowhere is it more evident than in the myriads of shops of all types and sizes, and huge elegant shopping malls housing the famous high-end retailers. Shopping is a favourite past time of Hong Kong’s designer label conscious dwellers. Read more

Muuzii: Accurate Translation for Travelers

If you’re looking for a translation app to travel with you, there’s no shortage of contenders.  Translation apps are easier to use than a clunky phrasebook, and many of them can do cool things like translate text from pictures and translate text to speech. However, the vast majority (if not all) of these apps have two main drawbacks:

  • They require that you own a smartphone.
  • Their translations are automatic and not 100% accurate.

For example, check out this amusing (but confusing) translation from celebrated translation app Word Lens, purchased by Google back in May:

 

What are they doing to that poor mozzarella?

Translation errors like that are good for a laugh, but in more serious situations you might want something a little bit more accurate.  Also, not everyone owns a smartphone, oddly enough. Muuzii is a new translation tool for all mobile phones (not just smartphones) that promises more accurate results because it does not exclusively rely on machine translation.

With Muuzii, users send the text they need translated over SMS. Muuzii automatically translates it, then has a professional translator review the translation to ensure that it is accurate. According to Venturebeat, they’ll not only make sure the translation is accurate, but also fix any awkwardness or ambiguity:

“Each team member makes sure that the response is not only accurate, but also the best way to get your message across. If the human translators think there might be a better way to phrase it, they’ll train the database to choose their preferred option next time it encounters a similar request.

So, when you find yourself in a sticky linguistic situation, you won’t deal with the awkwardness that the limitations of app technology create.”

Then, the service texts your translation right back to you.

The main drawback is that the service is only available in English and Chinese, as a subscription for American AT & T customers.

Would you use something like Muuzii? Let us know in the comments!

Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo

Travel Photography: A simple guide for the social media crowd

Most people take a camera with them on their travels, whether it’s a phone, a compact or a full blown DSLR. Travel photography is now easily accessible to the wide majority, even if just to relive a few memories or to make your Facebook contacts jealous. Read more

Autumn colours of Shinjuku

Picture Postcards from Tokyo

Being part of a company working with languages every day really helps stoke the desire to travel. I have just returned from another trip to Tokyo, my third time in as many years. If you have followed some of my previous articles you may be forgiven for thinking I am developing something of an affinity for the place. It’s true, I think if I could, I would relocate there in heartbeat. Read more