Language Translator devices

I have a strong interest to buy a language translator device, and wanted to ask if any forum members use one when travelling or when talking to friends on the internet. I spend a lot of time with arabic friends having worked for 12 years in the Middle East. I have recently travelled to Albania 3 times and have a strong desire to be self-sufficient there too.

I have started to read some device reviews on Youtube but there seems to be more device types than languages. I did manage to translate a contract in Albanian using Google translate camera feature, then sending each translated page of text from Albanian to English into a mobile phone Notes app, then send the text to myself via a WhatsApp link to an iphone cloud location, and eventually copy and paste it into a Word document that sufficed for the task. I have similar experience from almost a decade ago when someone told me I had to wait six weeks because our “New York based language lawyer had broken his leg”. I responded to that by using Google translate, and calling BT in South Africa when I had managed to understand the technical scope of work only to be told that the subject contract had been closed 5 years ago but nobody had stopped the billing!.

Anyway, any help or suggestions would be most welcome to help me in my future foreign travels.


I have no experience with translators. But I once saw an app that translates onto your screen as you wave your smartphone over texts (menus, street signs, etc).

Have you considered learning the language? (please don’t tell me ¨it’s too difficult¨)

A recommended technique, for sure: it’s exactly the same procedure that all the bots that post here apply to the vaguely-trading-related text they’ve borrowed from assorted websites, before pasting the result in here as “forum posts.” :star_struck:

All this sounds interesting. I plan to go to Albania this summer for my friend’s wedding. We were studying together in college, and we still keep in touch. But I’m terrified that I won’t be able to understand people around me, and my friend would obviously be a bit busy.




Well it took me 12 years living in the Middle East to speak a bit of Arabic, and I cannot read or write a single word. Based on that history, and that both my sons speak fluent arabic, I have concluded I am not a natural language learner, so need to resort to some AI help on this one :slight_smile:

In Tirana, almost everyone working in a shop speaks English. Just go with the flow. Don’t be worried. :slight_smile:

My experience (from a long time ago in the USSR) is that if you make the effort to speak their language then they will make the effort to speak yours. Learn as many phrases as you can (Hello, Where is? How much? Thank You, Excuse me, Goodbye etc…) and use them. Albanian is not widely known of outside of Albania so any foreigner speaking even a little bit of Albanian will show them that you have made an effort. One phrase I found very useful was “I am English, I speak very little Russian.”, you should practice “I am ‘insert nationality here’, I do not speak much Albanian.” as it makes a great conversation opener and sets the expectations for the other person.

Great advice, thankyou. I intend to buy a language translator and put that on it as the first sentence when approaching a local person. :slight_smile:

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Great advice, thankyou. I intend to buy a language translator and put that on it as the first sentence when approaching a local person.

I haven’t been there. So, I dunno what to expect. Of course, learning Albanian is not an option.
I still remember just Chkemi for Hi (I’m not even sure that it’s correct).
But when my friend’s family popped up with a visit, they all talked in Albanian, and what I’d heard in English from them was, ‘Jaylynn doesn’t understand us. We need to speak English’ and BAM! Albanian language again.

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Interesting story. I am just wondering how you learned Russian. Even a little bit of it?
I had a chance to meet a few Russians, and their language seemed so difficult. All I heard was Rrrrrrrrrrrr.
They tried to teach me some Russian, but later, I found out that what I learned was just swearing.

You can look at this: Langogo Genesis

Russian sounds like Klingon anyway. I am not good at languages so I decided that I just wanted to be functional for my trip to the USSR. I found a book in the library about learning Russian (this was the 80’s) and so I went through that. I learned how to pronounce the alphabet first and then I started learning words and phrases. I then found some Russian classes in town and signed up for them. Now that we have the internet you can find classes online. A website called “Omniglot” is good for phrases. I had a Russian-English dictionary and a phrase book. Basically you learn phrases rather than trying to learn how verbs change based on who you are talking to. The goal is not to be fluent or good, the goal is to be understood. You end up walking around having minor conversations in your head in a foreign language making note of any words you have forgotten.


Saw this video. This thing is pretty damn expensive. Besides, it is the size of a phone. I’d better pay for an app, which I’m sure gonna cost way less than this thing.

What kind of application?

It’s a smart approach because language learning is a long-term endeavor that requires consistent effort over time.

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Hi and thank you for the link. Whether I spend $400 or $100 or less, I think I will first experiment with Google translate on my mobile phone (if that works in an iPhone), and see where I get to. Knowing that 90% of people I encounter in Albania can speak conversational English, and that the maximum I intend to be there is up to 90 days per year (more likely to be 30 days per year), a language translator may be unnecessary. It will remain a topic of interest not just for Albania but other languages too.

Cost is not necessarily a deterrent. Admittedly, it is a significant investment. But that depends on the business case for each end user.