For those of you who work in an multi-ethnic environment (e.g. doctors seeing non-English speaking patients in the clinic) , I suspect there have been days you wish the Star Trek Universal Translator were a reality. While that only exists in SciFi, we are a step closer with Google Translate which is available as a mobile app for Android and the iPhone. It was recently updated which brought it to my attention. I found the app incredibly powerful with the ability to enter phrases either by typing or by voice recognition. The app then translates it to you in scores of languages you can select from a simple drop down list. The cool thing is that it can speak the translation for you (if text to speech is supported for that language). A two-way conversation can be carried out by switching the translation direction and getting the person to speak and then you can translate back what he is saying to English for instance.
Here’s a demo video which illustrates the features of Google Translate running in the iphone.
and the Android version which has a new “Conversation mode”
The app is free and you can get it in the Apple App Store or the Google Marketplace depending on your device.