Review: Langogo, Pocket Translator

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In the book Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy the main characters are able to understand different languages by putting a small Fish call the babble fish into their ear. It is a useful plot device like the universal translator on Star Trek, but we haven’t quite gotten there yet with current technology. But a new device called Langogo gets us one step closer to universal translation, without having to put a slimy fish in your ear.

Langogo, bills itself on indiegogo as the “1st Pocket Translator and Global Wi-Fi”. 
Designed to handle life on the go, Langogo is your smart travel buddy for global traveling. Powered by AI, it is: 
Your language pass to 60 spoken languages 
Your 24-hour AI voice travel buddy 
Your global Wi-Fi hotspot in 72 countries 
Anywhere, anytime, travel and connect with Langogo.

First Impression

I turn down most requests to review products, but the Langogo seemed like it was worth a try. I took one with me on my recent trip to central Europe. To be honest, before I tried the device I was having second thoughts about volunteering to review it. Why had I agreed to one more thing to do as I was busy getting ready for my trip?

However, my first impression with the device was delight. It is a very simple device. You choose a language speak a phrase, it will transcribe the phrase in your language and then write it out  and speak it in the target language. 

Native Speaker Reactions

I needed to hear what native speakers thought of the device so I first tried it on our Brazilian college student. I translated something from English to Portuguese and she said, “That’s Portuguese from Portugal”. She was right, that was what I had chosen. I switched it to Brazilian Portuguese and she said it got the accent correct.

When we were in Hungary, I tried it on the person at the front desk and on our driver and both said it was understandable and the translation for the simple phrase I chose was correct. Our driver did add that by contrast Google translate “does not work very well with Hungarian” in his opinion.

Data

The Langogo does use a cell signal or wi-fi to do translation so don’t expect to have a conversation with the person next to you on the plane, at least without paying for the airplane internet.

Costs

Review: Langogo, Pocket Translator #travel #gear #translation #gadgetThe device is currently only sold on indiegogo here: Langogo.

The device cost $229 (currently discounted on Indiegogo) and is available through Oct 2018.

On the Indiegogo campaign, every backer is offered 2G data, which is about 1-2 years usage depending on how frequently you will use it, and you can use it anywhere in the world.

For the trial unit I was sent we needed to turn on the data plan, which for Budapest was $3.6 per day with unlimited data. It’s the same price for most of the European countries.

Improvements

One improvement I would suggest is that it would be good to be able to switch the source and target languages more easily. So for instance, click a button and switch from English to German, to German to English. This would aid in having a conversation with someone else. 

Conclusion

This is a very interesting device. It may not be the final solution to the problem of universal translation, but it is a pretty cool next step.

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

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