Odyssey Translator language apps
The best translator app for $10: The Odyssey Translator Travel ProTranslator app reviews
World Nomads (free)
24/7 tutor (free)
Cool Gorilla (99¢)
Word Roll (99¢)
Lonely Planet ($9.99)
Usability: The Odyssey apps cover all the usual travel categories, but in far greater detail than the competition and with a novel interface that guides you through compiling sentences from snippets, anticipating what you might want to say.
Rather than just giving a standard word or phrase, it suggests ways you might start a sentences in the appropriate category. By doing so, the app subtly and organically teaches you how to put together phrases on your own.
Here’s how it works.
Within each sub-section, the screen has a matrix of buttons each containing a snippet (in English) of potential phrases you could make in that subject area. Snippets that might start a potential phrase or question (such as "Where is…" or "I would like…") are automatically highlighted, with a little "1" appearing over one corner.
Once you tap the one you want and the voice begins speaking the translation, it instantly highlights all the buttons of words or snippets that might follow and places a "2" in the corner (say, “…a bottle of...” or “..a glass of…”).
Tap on one of those and, while the next part of the staccato sentence is playing, it highlights all the snippets that might finish your phrase with a "3” (“…beer,” “…wine,” “…water”).
Frustrations: I look forward to the release of more languages, as six is more of a sampler size.
The audio for each word was obviously recorded separately and then stitched together, so there is a pause between each word—even those within a common phrase—and the inflection is sometimes off. So the language flows somewhat awkwardly.
This interactive, build-your-own phrases interface may not please those used to more traditional phrase books. Luckily, you can give the app a test drive by downloading a free, stripped-down version to give you a feel for the real deal.