Pocket PC (Windows CE 3.0 and higher), there is a
version for each available PPC processor, 10 MB of free storage memory
Updated 07/02/02 – New comments appear in RED
What’s the one thing that can add anxiety to an otherwise excellent vacation
in a foreign land? Simply put, it is the fear of being unable to communicate
with the locals and of being seen as a "stupid tourist." Am I wrong?
When traveling to a foreign
country, you too can sound almost like a native – without spending any time listening
to those droning language instruction tapes on the plane ride over. "How," you ask, "short of
taking the XYZ crash language course could I ever accomplish that?"
Easy. Just load the MobiLearn OutLoud Phrasebook for English-Speaking Travelers into
your Pocket PC’s memory card, and you will be ready for almost any question you
might need to ask
during a trip. As of
this writing, there are four languages available: Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
By now you are probably wondering how OutLoud manages to make you sound as if
you are familiar with a language you don’t actually speak. This is actually an
simple process. By loading over
400 common expressions into the Pocket PC’s Media Player in MP3 format, you will have
at your fingertips a easily accessible guide to the correct phrase and its
pronunciation for almost any situation.
When talking to a local, you have the option of playing the phrase you need
out loud over your Pocket PC’s external speaker; or if you know that you will be
in a certain situation requiring you to speak a particular phrase, you can look
up what you need to say in advance, listen to it through an ear-bud and then
repeat it at the correct time.
A non-robotic man’s voice will perfectly enunciate your chosen phrase,
allowing you in turn to properly say it to whomever you need to
communicate with. OutLoud allows you to feel confident that you will be able to
speak an appropriate phrase at the appropriate time.
Let’s walk through the steps together, and see if OutLoud looks like
something you might be interested in…
|OutLoud is broken into seven main sections, as you will see
on its opening screen. In a typical trip, chances are very good that these
are the type phrases that you will need in order to do most normal
touristy-type chit chat.
||Each section is then broken into a more specific sub-section|
|If you want to waste time talking about the weather, you can
ask questions like whether or not it will rain today…
If you have a
|If there is a particular phrase that you need to say, and
you don’t want to take the time to look it up the conventional way, you can
use the convenient "find" feature.
Unlike other translator programs that simply display your needed phrase,
OutLoud will actually pronounce it correctly and out loud for you.
This keeps you from having any awkward moments where you are unsure about
whether you have just given the pronunciation that means "dog" instead of
"but" in Spanish, for instance.
The are a couple of downsides that I can see to this program, after the glow
of having such a valuable travel aid fades…
The first is that you will want to create a separate play list for your MP3s,
if you keep any on your Pocket PC. Otherwise, you will have 400 short MP3
phrases to sort through before you can listen to your music.
UPDATE: MobiLearn has redesigned the program so
that the audio MP3 files will not show up in your play list.
The other downside that I can see is that if you ask a native a question in
his language, he will assume that you will understand the foreign phrase that he
uses to answer you with…he might even let loose with such a blast of his
language that it will leave your head spinning. You should just be aware that that could happen.
With those two points stated, I still think that this program is great. The
majority of the verbal communicating that you might want to do will be laid out
out in an easy to follow format, and you will be able to pronounce the phrase
without looking like an idiot.
Whether you actually play the question you want to ask out loud over your Pocket
PC’s external speaker or you find your phrase, rehearse it, and then repeat it
when needed, OutLoud can be a valuable tool when you aren’t familiar with a
UPDATE: If you are one of the fortunate few that
travels to countries that use all four of the languages that OutLoud
offers, then you owe it to yourself to check out their new
English-French|German|Spanish|Italian Phrasebook for Travelers. This program
is not for the faint of heart – as it uses a whopping 34MB of space to
accommodate its 1700(!!) vocal MP3 files. You will have to install it on
a storage card, but once you do – you will be set for massive traveling fun.
Obviously this newer, massive Phrasebook is not for everyone, but those of you
that do need it – and you know who you are – should really take a look at it.
Available in French, Spanish, Italian, and German or
you can get all four languages in one program for $89.95
Fun, intuitive and easy to use
Relieves fear of pronouncing foreign phrases incorrectly
Program uses a large chunk of memory, you basically have to
put it on a storage card
it’s not a substitute for a basic knowledge of a foreign language, which will be
evident if a local tries to talk to you