Going for a holiday in some fancy, faraway country where the language is very, very different, and English is not widely spoken can be fun, although when it comes to ordering food at a restaurant, things might end up getting complicated – especially when you do not have a local to guide you through the nuances. Thank goodness for technology – this particular translator app is able to enable both smartphones and compatible portable devices to translate foreign-language food menus into the English language. Apart from not accidentally eating something you normally would not go near with a 10-foot pole, it comes in handy if you’re on a restricted diet.

According to Mireille “Mimi” Boutin, an associate professor in Purdue University’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “You type in the menu listing and the application translates it automatically without talking to a server. It only takes a fraction of a second, you don’t need connection to the Internet and it won’t empty your battery.”

Just make sure that before you fly off to your destination, download a region- and language-specific configuration and database so that there is no need to rely on an (expensive) Internet connection when overseas. It currently works on the iPod touch, although it would be a simple matter to port it to the iPad and perhaps even the Android platform. Bon appetit!

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