Thursday, April 12, 2012

A tip for smartphone users learning Korean: Use Google translate!

Like many expats in Korea, I've been struggling to improve my command of the Korean language.  It will, of course, be a lifelong struggle.   However, Google Translate, the subject of earlier posts here, has taken a giant leap forward with the release of its "voice-to-voice" translation service.
This morning I downloaded the Google translate App for Android to my Galaxy Nexus phone and was delighted to learn that the voice-to-voice translation service is up and running for Korean to English or English to Korean translation.    This is really a 21st century service.   Basically, you just open the app, adjust a few settings and then speak the word, phrase or sentence that you want translated, after which you touch the speaker icon on your phone to hear a woman utter the translation in either English or Korean.   It gets even better..... in "conversation mode" you can view the text of the translation even as you're listening to it being spoken.
Of course, the translations are not always perfect, and Google translate still works better for simple words and phrases than more complex expressions.   Nevertheless, this is a tool that gives a glimpse of things to come!  If you haven't tried it, I recommend installing the app and starting immediately, as an enjoyable supplement to more rigorous study of Korean.

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