Language Translators- Voice Command?

Going to Poland and Germany to meet long lost relatives who speak no English. Would like to converse on a more intimate level than the niceties...find out family history. Obviously typing sentences back and forth in a translation tool will be inconvenient at best. Anyone know of a voice recognition translator than can act as an interpreter?

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
4332 posts

Wouldn't it be better to hire a local university language student for a few hours a day? Maybe the local priest or rabbi could suggest someone.

Posted by Tom
2876 posts

I'll make you a bet that your European relatives have friends or acquaintances who speak English. Especially in Germany.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12562 posts

I don't think those Star Trek translators are available yet. I am sure they are coming but have not seen them on the market. Waiting for the ear piece. I think you may have to hire an interpreter.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20925 posts

Katherine, As the previous reply mentioned, having a "live" translator would be the best idea, as they'll be able to adjust for local dialects, nuances in speech, etc. The electronic translators today are much better and more sophisticated than those of even a few years ago, but still need some work. If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch or other Smartphone, you might have a look at Jibbigo, which has an off-line version for German. I don't believe Polish is supported yet. The App allows either speech-to-speech operation or typing words or phrases. The user can speak a phrase in English and the App will then translate and speak the same phrase in the other language. It "understands" speech quite well in a quiet environment and gets it right most of the time, but if not the user can type a correction and then have it speak in the other language. I've been using Jibbigo for French, German and Spanish and have found that it works reasonably well, but I've been told by native speakers in both French and German that while it gets the meaning across, it's not grammatically perfect. You'll have to decide it that will work for your situation. One tip to mention - after using Jibbigo, close the App as the battery seems to drain faster if it's left open (not sure why that is?). You could also try Google Translate, which likely does have a version for Polish. I believe their App is also capable of off-line operation. Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by Katherine
Kansas City, KS, USA
2 posts

Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply. Great insight. I will look into both the app and hiring an interpreter! Wish me luck!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12562 posts

You will have good luck with good planning which you are doing. You might take along a recorder so that you can record the conversations for later review.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3838 posts

Hi, Where is this meeting of the relatives specifically in Poland and Germany? In which towns?