google translate

Lisa Du is director of ReadyTechGo, a service that helps people gain the confidence and skills to embrace modern technology.

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Europe. Almost six weeks abroad, and lots of time spent in countries speaking a foreign language. From the top of the Swiss Alps, climbing the never-ending stairs of Arc de Triomphe (They don't warn you when you buy a ticket), dinner in the Eiffel Tower, eating tapas in Spain, through to desert Dubai... The trip was just amazing!

Most of you will probably agree that travelling is one of the best ways to enlighten yourself. Visiting places with great historical value, meeting new people and experiencing their culture... oh and don't get me started on food! Food is probably one of the highlights of travelling for me, as I am a huge foodie. Now, in places like Seville (Spain), I avoid the touristy restaurants, and find local gems. 

One night, we found ourselves in a Tapas bar, but this place served pasta tapas. We arrived at this restaurant at 6.30pm only to find out the kitchen didn't open till 8:15pm so we were starving! We'd already looked at the menu 5 times, and knew exactly what we wanted.

At 8:10, we ushered the waiter over, and placed our orders. 

I noticed a couple on the table next to us, trying to get the attention of the waiter who was busy rushing around. They needed an explanation of this menu (written in Spanish):

In Body Image

How did I suddenly read Spanish?

Using my smartphone of course! We've mentioned Google Translate previously, and boy... was this app handy!

I actually approached the couple on the next table, showed them my nifty tool. Needless to say, they were blown away. They downloaded the app straight away, had a tutorial from me, and started choosing their tapas.

I did my good deed for the day, and sat down happily, thinking how wonderful technology was as a travel tool!

The great thing about Google Translate is:

  • You can read menus, street signs, sale signs in windows - all via your smart phone
  • Travel country to country, and use different languages
  • Have an actual conversation with someone in each person's native language and more.  

In this day and age, when you meet someone who speaks a foreign language to you, you don't need to speak each other's language – you just need a smartphone!

Do you find Google Translate useful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Download Google Translate for iOS here and for Android here.

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