Tim Ferriss believes you can learn (but not master) a language in 2-12 months. But what if you don’t have that much time? Whether you’ve managed to find a last minute travel deal or you just want to welcome your new neighbors down the hall, below are a few translation tools to aid you in your quest to communicate.
1. Forvo: Forvo is a fantastic crowdsourced language site where users submit, rate and share audio clips in order to practice proper language pronunciation. One great feature is that audio files are mapped according to the speaker’s region. This means you won’t make the mistake of speaking le français du Québec to Parisians.
2. Babel Fish: Human translation will always triumph over online tools. Nevertheless, unless you’re a diplomat, it’s unlikely that you’ve got a polyglot at your disposal. One of the most established online translation tools, Babel Fish allows users to translate large blocks of text and URLs. This is particularly useful to understand hotel websites, online menus and directions. Microsoft’s Bing Translator offers similar capabilities with the added ability to automatically detect the initial language.
3. Google Translate: Google Translate and Babel Fish are very similar services. However, Google recently added Google Translate functionality to Gmail. Now you can instantly translate your emails by choosing a language from the drop down menu.
4. TweetTranslate: TweetTranslate is a great service for those interested in restaurant and entertainment recommendations. The service integrates with your Twitter profile and allows you to translate your tweets into more than 40 languages.
5.BabelWith.Me: RWW first covered this cool chat translator a few weeks ago. BabelWith.Me allows users to chat in more than 45 different languages. This is a great tool for negotiating room and guide rates.