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Audio Translator Review
Posted March 2004 by By Tanker Bob

On the road, all dressed up, but nothing to say? Feel like one of the crowd after the Tower of Babel incident? Mobile Digital Media has just the thing if you happen to find yourself out of your native language element. Their Audio Translator provides over 40,000 words and 5,000 phrases to help you master the international road.

MobiPocket Reader Pro 4.7 provides the underlying basis for the translator. It supports rich text, a variety of fonts, and embedded resources. The pronunciations execute from icons in the display. Overall appearance and function proved excellent. The entire program comes on a 32 MB MMC card with ~700K free. Audio Translator automatically executes upon card insertion.

Upon opening, the user must choose the native language for the program. This controls the language for the menus and help files. After that, you choose your translation languages. English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian will cover your European travels nicely, as well as many other locations around the world.

After selecting the languages, you can choose one of three ways to work. Phrases by category furnish the most common approach for those familiar with printed phrase books (see first illustration). You can also list all phrases and words in one big list. Lastly, the user can filter by keywords.

Handy phrases and fragments populate the phrase list. Many parallel those in popular printed phrase books, but MDM included many more. The list extensively covered things you'd need on the road, plus a few.

Audio Translator includes digitized audio to pronounce words and phrases on compatible devices. The box and website include a list of supported PDAs. This includes the Tungsten T3 on which I evaluated the program. Just tap on the speaker icon under each word or phrase to hear it pronounced. Game volume in Palm Preferences controls the sound level.

The digitized audio would never be mistaken for a real person, but it generally furnishes acceptable performance. PDA speed seems to influence the outcome. Initially, I had significant trouble understanding the audio on my 400 MHz T3. I then slowed the program to 200 MHz using PXA Clocker 3.1, and the audio then caught most of the nuances in the translation.

In addition to the pull-down list boxes at the top of each screen, most displays sported the same icons. The first icon jumps to a list of ebooks available. In this case, these are the help file, translator, and software license. The help on the card proved quite extensive and detailed. The second icon goes to the initial language selection screen, so you can easily make a quick switch as the train crosses the border. One icon initiates a smooth scrolling for reading through entries or the help file. Others allow you to change the font and return to the previous screen as a back button.

One capability accessed by icon gets its own paragraph. Audio Translator can rotate the screen to any orientation. This includes high resolution displays. This operation proved smooth and well executed. Of course, the T3 can rotate any screen 90 degrees, but Audio Translator goes all the way around.

The translator works entirely off the card, leaving only a preference file and a couple of a68k files in RAM when exiting. It also leaves an entry in Unsaved Preferences so that you don't have to start over each time. Overall, the translator is unobtrusive and very well executed. As an added bonus, the package provides a SD/MMC caddy that holds up to six cards.

I found Audio Translator to cover an exceptional range of words and phrases compared to even similar printed phrase books. Its coverage of five languages makes it unique and quite a bargain. The inclusion of digital audio pronunciations, though not as clear as human recordings, proved quite useful. Whether you are planning a vacation or travel for a living, Audio Translator will more than fill your needs and does so in style.

Audio Translator works on Palm OS, Windows Mobile devices as well as Nokia 3650 and 3600.

Covers huge number of words and phrases
Includes five common languages
Rotates screen four ways
Nice font selections
Good help on the card
Digital audio on supported PDAs
Both Palm and Windows PDA support

Sometimes hard to discern nuances in digital audio
Digital audio needed to be slowed down for clarity on the T3

Web Site: Price: $39.95





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