|by Sean O'Neill||Language Acquisition, Apps||7|
Vocre is a new voice-recognition app for iPhones that lets you speak in one language and hear what you said translated into another.
Using the app Vocre (pronounced voh-krey) is supposed to be like having a personal translator with you on your trip. In my tests, I found that the voice recognition is astonishingly accurate, but it seemed too cumbersome to use in most real-world circumstances.
Let's say you're speaking with someone in a foreign country. You are struggling to say something in particular. You open Vocre on your iPhone, choose your gender and the gender of the local you're talking to, pick the language you're translating into, and then say what you want to say—talking into your iPhone. The app will show what you want to say in English. Turn your iPhone in the air, and the device will speak out loud a translation of what you just said.
The app works for translating English into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese (Mandarin). It debuted at a TechCrunch event this week.
The app is free to download but it charges about 10 cents a translation after the first complimentary bunch of translations. The app works with a built-in dictionary. It does not need to connect to the Internet, and your phone is not hit with data charges while roaming in a foreign country. So how do you get billed, you might wonder? Well, you have to buy credits. Each translation costs a credit, and ten credits cost a dollar, which you can pre-pay before you head to your country. But it won't take long in a conversation for the charges to add up.
See the video below for a demonstration of Vocre.
Up until now, the main app in this space has been Jibbigo Translator, which listens to what you say in English and speaks back a translation with written versions. It has a more interesting range of languages than Vocre: Mandarin, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Iraqi Arabic. It also has bigger vocabularies in each language, and it doesn't charge you per translation. It's also available in Android, not just iPhone/iPad. $5.
But the usability of Vocre is superior in a lot of situations.
What are your thoughts? Would you ever use a tool like this while traveling?
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