Converse iPhone app turns your phone into a double-ended language translator
By Mike Hanlon
May 4, 2010
We've all been there - you're trying to communicate with someone who doesn't speak your language and you don't speak theirs, and no amount of charades and gesturing will do the trick. You need a toilet and he's wondering why you're telling him your brother eats flies. Converse is the name of a new app that will soon become available which is claimed to turn your iPhone into a double ended language translator – a multilingual, face-to-face instant messaging conversation. It's one of the most innovative uses of the iPhone's form factor we've yet seen, with both people able to type on a keyboard in their own language at the same time and have the words translated and displayed for the other person. If it works as advertised, Converse is set to significantly reduce communication problems on holidays and business trips. The new app enables an English speaker to communicate with people in 51 different languages and keyboards accommodate non-Latin languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Thai, Czech, Hebrew and Ukrainian scripts.
You can ask a question by simply typing it in, just like a text message or email. The text is then immediately translated into your chosen language and displayed on the other end of the screen. The person can then respond to the question in their language in exactly the same way and their response is translated, then displayed to you in the Queen's English.
This novel twist on language translation is claimed to use “the best language translation APIs available on the web” and enable “fluent complex text-based conversations with almost anyone in the world.” Now if you've ever played with web translation, you'll know this is a big claim, but with a price of just GBP1.79, even if it's only half that good it'll have a nuclear level bang-per-buck factor as translation apps are among the highest priced apps in the iTunes store. Whatsmore, the convenience of having a single word or phrase translator for rough and ready translations on the go will be simply too good to pass up.
Languages included Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian,Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh and Yiddish.
The publisher's site will go live shortly here.