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Blog . Translator please!

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05/01/12  |  Posted by Keri Svoboda  |  Posted in Digital Canvas - Apps & Accessories

Some of you are going to do a little traveling this summer and need to learn some words for the place that you're going.  Are you going to Germany?  Syria?  France?  China? Japan? Ireland?  And if so, what are the best apps out there to help you learn what you need to in a short amount of time without spending hundreds on Rosetta Stone software?  Well, the DCI has dedicated this review to the best apps (and app producers) that make language based applications! Where do you start?  What's the best tool out there to get learning on language?  There's dozens of them for the iPad, all of them seem to do exactly the same thing.  The best one I found out there for the broad language translator package is Rosetta HD or Google Translate.  From what I experienced in this application, it has every sound package for the languages that are listed.  However, for languages that don't use Latin-based letters, such as Arabic or Chinese, you're out of luck if you can't hear words very well.  The user gets stuck trying to listen closely to words through headphones or in a noisy public place, trying to determine if that articulated letter is a 'm' or an 'n.'  I remind readers that this is only a translator and not an educational package program, which is what Rosetta Stone is best known for.  However, you have to pay for Rosetta HD, and it does nearly exactly the same thing as Google Translate, which is free. TOTALe Course HD by Rosetta Stone The actual Rosetta Stone application for language learning software is called TOTALe Course HD.  Although it says that it is free, TOTALe Course HD's tricks come in the fine print.  TOTALe Course requires you to buy the language package of your choice, starting at $500, and then pay a monthly subscription fee through TOTALe Course, which was undefined.  The DCI is not that rich though, so looking through the comments to find out what this app was really about was easy.  I was shocked to find that the application had a majority of ratings that were less than 3 stars.  About half of the ratings overall were one star.  Common problems were constant crashing issues with the software, which led to other problems like not logging out and the inability to move forward in the lesson plans.  TOTALe Course HD also had repetitive problems with the sound software being a little laggy, or behind.  Also, Rosetta Stone's webpage is in Flash (not supported by iPad), so users were not able to get help when they needed it.  Those who did not give this application one star believe that this application should be pulled from the app store until the 'bugs are worked out.'  I can't help but agree.  If it doesn't work, don't charge people $500 and more to use it! uTalk by EuroTalk Looking for a while did not help this constant issue with different word-based languages for the poor student.  There simply is no visual annunciation guide that comes cheaply for students.  The only language pack program that includes a written annunciation guide is offered by producers, EuroTalk.  EuroTalk is a company that has 20 years of experience in language learning and utilizes pseudo-instant immersion methods to educate their consumers (ten million and counting!) so that it feels like their first language.  Instant immersion means that the user learns the language with no reference to their native language.  EuroTalk forces people to relate words to images that the user sees and also quizzes them on it when they're all done.  I will admit that the games for these programs were fun and I had a hard time walking away from the games to get my work done. EuroTalk offers language packs separately and works similar to Rosetta Stone for the PC and MAC.  When you compare prices of Rosetta Stone for computers ($500 to start for any single language pack) to EuroTalk's average pricing for their language ($10-$13), the pricing choice is clear and portable.  This app is brand new (just released on the 29th of March this year!), but it was obviously well thought-out. iLang and eduGamer EuroTalk is still very expensive though, for a single application on a fixed income budget.  The next application does not have the annunciation capability for the user, but it utilizes other parts of study that is important when learning another language (especially if it's in another language).  iLang products, sold by eduGamer, creates language applications that allows the user to test try it for free first before moving onto the paid version for $2.99.  As I said before, iLang utilizes other important aspects of learning another language such as proper spelling, word matching, voice recognition software, and quizzes to improve your linguistic skills.  This application was not as fun as Eurotalk, but it's definitely a better buy for what you pay.  iLang does not use instant immersion methods to teach the user how to speak.  Basic language-learning skills are achieved by repetition and quizzes.  I'm not sure if the quizzes are as effective as the games that EuroTalk utilizes, but I did learn while I took the quizzes, more than the lessons, sadly.  This app set was also just recently released on the 16th of March, this year, so it has some time to work out the bugs. Just as I have shared with you the apps to buy, I would also like to add a list of apps NOT TO BUY!  Applications by Future Apps Inc. (like iSpeak Arabic), any dictionaries that demand money, and the TOTALe Course HD are not worth the money.  Google Translate is a free application that works just as well, if not better, than these applications that mimic it. TOTALe Course HD in iTunes 1 star FREE to download, but $500 to use +subscription fees EuroTalk developers in iTunes 5 stars Ranges from FREE to $11.99 Just type in "EuroTalk" in the app search bar and select the language you would like from the list of iPad apps iLang(by eduGamer) -German in iTunes 5 stars FREE to try Pro In-App purchase: $2.99 There is no developer site for iLang, or eduGamer.  Type in "iLang" in the app search bar and select the language you would like. Google Translator in iTunes 3 stars FREE

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