January 12, 2007 The barriers between cultures that create fear, mistrust and conflict seem to be dissolving – first distance and now language is going the same way as the Berlin Wall. At CES, electronic handheld information publisher Franklin Electronic showed its new 12-Language Speaking Global Translator (Model TGA-490). The US$230 pocket-sized handheld contains over 450,000 words and 12,000 phrases in twelve languages and features recorded human speech providing accurate and clear pronunciation of words and phrases in all twelve languages. Basically, this means that if you speak Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish, you now have the basics to have a conversation with anyone who speaks one of these languages, though this communication tool was specially designed with the non-Asian language speaker travelling to the Far East in mind. The new PDA-sized device has a slide out keyboard and a rechargeable battery and also includes an MP3 player, a currency converter, world clock, alarm, and voice recorder.
It displays Chinese, Korean and Japanese words phonetically in Romanised alphabet form, as well as in Asian characters.
"International travel is projected to rise considerably," said Mike Crincoli, VP of North American Operations. "This projected growth presents Franklin with a viable market opportunity to reach both the international business and leisure traveller. The content offering and versatility of this device empowers the user to be successful in a global marketplace where now even foreign travellers can finally hear pronunciations and translate Asian languages into a character set they can more easily read."
The 12-Language Speaking Global Translator will be available next month and should not be confused with the recently introduced non-speaking handheld 12-Language Global Translator (Model TGA-470) from Franklin, which sells for US$100.