Which instant translation tool is right for expatriates?

Which instant translation tool is right for expatriates?

15 November 2022 Expat life

Who hasn’t experienced this situation? Whether you excel in a foreign language or are just starting out, you have inevitably stumbled over a sentence. Pronunciation, unfamiliar words or idiomatic expressions will soon hold no secrets for you with these instant translation tools for expatriates.

This is it, you’ve just taken up your dream job as an expatriate in Switzerland, you speak Italian like a Sicilian and English runs through your veins. Nothing can happen to you from your office except… Except that colleague who only speaks German! Gut.. Guten Day – here you go, stammering! To avoid a diplomatic incident, you would need an instant translation tool. Let’s see what opportunities are available to you.

Instant voice translation tools

What would be the simplest solution? Well, you would just have to ask your colleague Olaf to repeat himself and there you go! To this end, there is the more direct and more expensive automated option and the instant voice translation application. Let’s start with the former:  

  • Vasco Electronics offers an instant voice translator that includes 108 languages. You can use it either by recording the voice or by taking a picture of the text. The tool is fast and designed in the form of a small mobile device. Just like any other expat translation software, you will need an internet connection!
  • There are many applications including Google Translate and Baidu Translate or Microsoft Translator. These direct translation applications allow you to record your voice and transcribe it as text. A small subtlety on the Microsoft side is the Over-The-Network mode, which allows you to connect several phones with a code and join the same conversation. For both Microsoft and Google, you can translate text from a photo.
  • Other lesser-known applications such as Say Hi and iTranslate Voice have millions of downloads and offer similar solutions.

Although these solutions are becoming more and more accurate, the synthesised voices they produce are often still too robotic. Your interlocutor may struggle to understand the answer!

Translation tools for expatriates: textual side

Unfortunately, Olaf does not understand what your voice translation tool says. Worse, he starts to add to it, and that’s when the panic sets in! You want to make the conversation flow (or stop the mayhem) so you ask him to come closer.

You can either:

  • Opt for the Linguee dictionary which, although fails to translate an entire sentence, is based on numerous texts and offers a rich variety of different translations. As we know, a word can have a different meaning depending on what precedes or follows it and the general context of the sentence.
  • Use a text translation tool like Reverso or Google Translate. The former, although at first may seem off-putting, offers many features such as a dictionary, spelling and conjugation checker. Google Translate, on the other hand, is a behemoth that can translate more than 90 languages. It can also translate PDF and Word files. Finally, Deepl (for Deep Learning) is also a reliable translation tool based on artificial intelligence. A nice feature is that it provides you with variations of words and phrases that you can save for future use.
  • Save Chrome / Firefox extensions of these same tools: Deepl, Google Translate, S3 Translator or TranslateMe which will allow you to approach the next meeting with more serenity!

5 minutes: that’s how long it took you to understand Olaf’s simple message, “Welcome to Switzerland, I can’t wait to have a coffee together”.  

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