Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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I grew up on a diet of science fiction TV shows. Star Trek showed me a future in which an Universal translator meant we could communicate with anyone regardless of language with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who showing similar results. iTranslate Voice is an app that makes that concept one step closer to reality.
It sounds a little too good to be true but impressively, it works. Users simply speak into the iOS device after selecting their relevant language, and the app quickly translates. It is genuinely as easy as that. It can be used alone in order to quickly translate something or as a bridge between two people who are fluent in different languages, thus fulfilling the Universal translator idea. It's pretty accurate, too. I found that the best results were when speaking clearly at the device, rather than mumbling or speaking quietly, otherwise it was liable to confuse words such as test for pest. Other than that, things are speedy and effective. There's not even a need to calibrate the app beforehand, as it just works.
31 languages are catered for, including variants such as Cantonese Chinese as well as Mandarin. The vast majority of European languages are included, as well as Japanese, Korean and Russian. Text based input can also be used for languages such as Arabic, Catalan, Greek and Hindi but voice recognition isn't quite there yet.
Further functionality comes through this text input as for any of the languages, users can type in what they want to say rather than speak. This doubles up as an easy to use app for translating text rather than having to resort to something like Google Translate. A Definitions feature also becomes very useful here, especially given how some words can mean slightly different things depending on the language or dialect.
For the price, iTranslate Voice is very impressive stuff. While it requires an internet connection to work, no other additional hardware is required, making it a great 'out of the box' solution for regular travellers. The future is that one step closer. Now all we need is hoverboards and jetpacks.