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SayHi Translate

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 SayHi Translate

Everyone should own this app! For a mere 99 cents, SayHi Translate lets you translate speech in 40 languages. You simply speak into your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and it speaks the translation. This is science fiction cool! It works exceptionally well.

The app had no problems translating spoken English into a variety of languages. It even translated the one Mandarin phrase I know (“ne hao ma”) into English. This is surprising, considering the subtle nuances of Mandarin and the fact that I don’t speak it well. I also tried it with my rudimentary Spanish (“como esta usted?”) — SayHi translated this flawlessly.

The ultimate test — how well does it translate complicated English into a variety of foreign languages. For this, I decided to use an excerpt from a scientific journal:

“Amyloid is a title conferred upon a special type of linear protein aggregate that exhibits a common set of structural features and dye binding capabilities.”

SayHi attempts a complicated translation

Close, but no cigar. SayHi Translate’s speech recognition thought that “Amyloid” was “Emma Lloyd” and “dye” was “died”. It’s quite easy to edit the conversation and replay it with the corrected translation. I’m impressed with how much was recognized correctly. I’ve found that Nuance speech recognition (the technology that SayHi Translate employs) is the best. Even if you don’t need to translate, SayHi translate is a great way to do dictation. You can tap on the displayed text, then copy it and paste it into another document.

This app translates (to and from) the following languages, mostly with speech recognition: English (USA), English (UK), English (Australia), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (USA), Spanish (Mexico), French (France), French (Canada), German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin (China), Mandarin (Taiwan), Cantonese, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Polish, Russian, Arabic (UAE), Arabic (Saudi), Arabic (Egypt), Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Slovak, Turkish, Czech, Hebrew (no voice), Malay (no voice), Romanian (no voice), Vietnamese (no voice), Basque, Catalan, Hindi (no speech), Thai (no speech). No speech means that speech recognition does not work. Users will have to type in text to be translated. No voice indicates that SayHi Translate will only produce a text translation, however, it will recognize speech in that language.

SayHi Translate also offers more languages and dialects, but this comes at a cost. A monthly fee of $2.99 is required to unlock premium features. Users can also opt for 6 months of premium features for $4.99, which is a much better deal. The premium product offers 45 additional languages: Afrikaans, Albanian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Bengali, Cebuano, Croatian, Esperanto, Estonian, Farsi, Filipino, Galician, Georgian, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hmong, Icelandic, Igbo, Irish, Javanese, Kannada, Latin, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Maltese, Marathi, Mongolian, Punjab, Serbian, Slovakian, Somali, Swahili, Telugu, Ukrainian, Urdu, Welsh, Yiddish, Yoruba, Zulu. It also offers 25 additional dialects: Arabic – Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar; English – Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa; Spanish – Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela.

It’s somewhat amusing that one can speak in U.S. English and have it “translated” into UK or Australian English. When I say “what is in the trunk of the car?”, however, it does not use “boot” as the UK translation. It simply speaks it with a different accent. It doesn’t translate the subtle differences between U.S., UK, and Australian English. I don’t think this is a huge flaw. The purpose is to recognize different accents.

SayHi Translate is exceptionally easy to use. By default, for U.S. users, it is set up to translate between U.S. English and Spanish. If these aren’t your desired languages, you can switch them at the top of the screen. To begin translating, simply tap the speech button of your language, then speak. When you are done speaking, tap done. You can also change the settings to automatically detect the end of speech. (continue…)

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