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Electronic Spanish Translators
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A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

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My husband bought a Seiko electronic Spanish translator for under $20. It has been very handy, and he used to carry it with him — it’s tiny. Not only does it have many (but not all) of the words we look up, it also has a nifty verb conjugation feature that he uses to study Spanish verbs. There’s also a calculator and a clock, and he’s found both useful.

You type in a word in English or Spanish, and it either gives you the translation or a choice of noun or verb or whatever, and then you choose that to get the translation. Kelly just pointed out to me that it would be useful for one of us to quiz the other on verbs.

I went to Amazon.com to get a link for this item, and here it is:

Clicking on the image will take you to this gadget at Amazon. While I was there, I scanned the reviews of other people for this Seiko Spanish Translator (there are several Seikos listed), I discovered that the people who had written reviews uniformly disliked its vocabulary limitations.

So then I got curious and did quite a lot of research, both at Amazon and around the internet. What I found was that these gadgets are ever-changing, that is, I’d find one that somebody loved but that was back in 1998 and so of course it had gone out of stock. I also learned that some of them are sturdier than others. Somebody said that the Franklin brands tended to be the best, but I couldn’t find anyone else commenting on that.

Some of these things will actually pronounce a word for you, but I have my doubts about the value of that, as electronic voices can be pretty awful and it’s usually not that hard to make a good guess as to how to pronounce a Spanish word. (If you were learning Chinese, it would be much more useful!)

So if you are shopping for electronic Spanish translators, or are just curious about them, hitting GO in the search box below will get you to that category. Read the reviews!

Amazon Logo

Right after this page went up,I got an email from a friend, used by permission

We have two. My wife has a small Seiko model ET2240 and I use a Franklin BES-1850 (same company btw). The Franklin was close to $100.00. They both are handy. The Franklin is much more comprehensive and actually ‘speaks’ the words. I listen to words and phrases played up to to my ear and then immediately say them to the unsuspecting Spanish speaking person – this works fine. I also find it useful for translating signs and store names etc.

I think, at least for a real novice, the more expensive model is really worth the extra dough. It is larger than the Seiko but still easily carried in a pocket or backpack. The thing I didn’t like about it was that it eats batteries like mad.

I had a cell phone that a company had forced me to use while I was consulting for them. Since that job is over I no longer use the phone. Well it had two terrific lithium batteries. I spent a day running around to the electronic stores to find appropriate connectors and pieces. I soldered a connectors to the batteries in a manner where I can still charge them with the phone. I made a gizmo to replace the batteries in the compartment allowing easy removal to use regualr batteries if need be. I attached velcro tape to the batteries and the Franklin case allowing easy attachment and removal to the back of the Franklin; making it just about 1/2 inch thicker. The batteries last for several months, even with much use at least a month. I think I recharged twice in Mexico. It plays louder, I can use the backlight a lot (this helps see the display in bright light or darker conditions) and it generally has become an indispensable item for me. I keep it handy when I am reading travel books on Mexico and even when reading your blog. ;-)

Oh – I got caught up in my modification and didn’t talk enough about the Franklin. In the reviews of the BES-1850 you will see some folks that didn’t like it. It plays low volume (without the super battery). It can be hard to see (works MUCH better with the add on battery in this regard). I use the backlight almost all the time making it very easy to see. The speech is very good I think. As I wrote, I listen to a phrase or word and then repeat it and this works very well – so I must be able to understand with some accuracy. I don’t find it real computerze talk. There are recorded phrases (spoken by a male) and if you ask it to speak a work you highlight a female voice that is a bit more computerized says the word(s). It has a connection for earphones – if you are in a public place reading or on a bus this works well and the audio is still more clear.

It also has some conversion programs for decimals, liters, meters for length, temperature, weights, liquids and a separate currency exchange area that is quickly accessed. You can put in the current exchange rate and then it does the rest. I found this VERY helpful at the Pemex stations to keep those people honest and to figure what gas was costing (really good prices there btw in the diesel arena). It has a bunch of common phrases, a rolodex, calculator, time and date etc. Really a handy device. In spite of the complaints in some of the reviews my is highly recommended – but I must again say this is in part working better with the phone battery.

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