With all this new technology and fast modes of transportation the world has become a smaller place—and yet there are still language barriers. English serves as a good lingua franca in many western countries, but certainly not everywhere. To make communication a little easier and smoother, the Android market boasts a handful of really good language and translation tools/dictionaries. Today let's take a closer look at ISayHello Communicator Pro, an app that has both a dictionary and conversation mode.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Android version: 4.2.1
Modifications: Cyanogenmod 10.1 Nightly 1, TouchWiz 5.0 Theme/Design
Runs as of: 2.2
Apps2SD: Could not be detected on the Galaxy Nexus
Size: Ca. 5 MB + ca. 100 MB language data
Optimised for Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean: Yes
Permissions strike us as perfectly straight forward.
I bought a PlayStation Portable in 2005. The iPhone was but a glimmer of hope in the future and most smartphones were still clunky gadgets that weren't much fun to operate. But back to PlayStation Portable: there was this cool programme called Talkman with which you could plug a mic into the PSP, insert the UMD and start the programme and hey, presto! a dictionary containing lots of phrases, a conversation mode and speech in&output.
ISayHello Communicator Pro does pretty much the same thing, but it's much more sophisticated and at the same time easier to use.
Once the app has started install the language files you will need. We recommend doing so via WiFi connection, seeing as you will have to download a hefty 100 MB. The app does not display the download, unfortunately, meaning you have to keep checking yourself to see if the download is complete.
Despite this slightly shaky start the Travel Dictionary is more than decent: German (and Bavarian German, a strong German accent), English (USA + UK), French, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (EU, Latin), Russian and Spanish. Certain terms – related to arrival/customs, greetings, general stuff, shopping, etc. - should make your travels abroad that much easier. Every single phrase was recorded with a real native speaker, meaning you don't need to listen to a staccato computer voice in order to learn how to pronounce words. The speakers enunciate beautifully and the audio quality is good. Select two languages and then have the app playback phrases in both languages.
Now let's move on to the Communicator, the feature that made me think of Talkman from days of yore. ISayHello Communicator Pro is better than Talkman in the sense that it uses Google speech recognition, which isn't perfect, but better than it was back in 2005. We tested it around the office and the app was able to recognise English speakers from different backgrounds/countries, German speakers from different backgrounds/countries, Spanish speakers from different backgrounds/countries and even Japanese.
The Communicator mode is linked to your device's TTS engine, meaning English, Spanish, French and the like shouldn't be much of an issue, but you will need to install language packages for more “exotic” or less widely spoken languages (e.g. Belorussian, Welsh, Catalan, Maltese... Check the app desription for a full list of provided languages).
We found the Communicator mode to be super useful in lots of situations.
ISayHello Communicator Pro is a Godsend for many a tourist. The phrased featured in the dictionary is useful and make communicating that much easier, and the Communicator mode is equally awesome. So long as you make an effort to pronounce words as clearly as you can you are sure to make the most out of this excellent app.
Fun bonus: you can copy texts and send them as text messages.
Screen & Controls
Using ISayHello Communicator Pro is nice and easy: simply select a language from one of the lists. The Travel Dictionary is set up in a straight forward manner, making it easy to navigate.
When using the Communicator, hit the little figure in order to start recording; the translation is then displayed in a speech bubble.
The app's design is effective but not particularly design-y.
Speed & Stability
ISayHello Communicator Pro runs smoothly and is stabile and solid: a perfect five star score.
ISayHello Communicator Pro costs €6.99 and can be found in the AndroidPIT App Center as well as Google Play. While this isn't exactly peanuts one has to keep in mind that a whole lot of work went into the creation of this app (native speakers saying all those terms and phrases...). Check out the free version (ISayHello Communicator) if you'd like to check it out before purchasing the pro version. The free version contains ad banners and has less functions.