Ode to Google Translate

imgresThe Google Translate app is my new best friend, especially after I accidentally ate a suppository.

I’ve been fighting off a bug of some sort for about a week or so, and opted to pick up some probiotics from the local pharmacy in France. I didn’t bring my phone with me, which is atypical, but I figured I could ask for a recommendation and go from there.

Unfortunately for me, the pharmacists here don’t speak much English, and I don’t speak much French. Beyond struggling to pronounce “Je cherche” (“I’m looking for”), I’m at a loss. So, I just bought what I thought was a box of regular probiotics.

Home again, I grabbed a pill from the box, only to find that the plastic coating snapped in half. Now, I’m not the hulk by any means, so I was surprised by how delicate this pill was. I mixed the powder in with my coffee and went about my day. It wasn’t until later that I had the bright idea to translate the directions with my app.

Imagine my surprise when I held up my app to the directions, and read: “Start with one pill a day and insert deep into the…” Wait, what?! I had definitely used the wrong orifice.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had an accidental brush with a suppository in Europe. Just the other month in Croatia, I had a raging headache. Before heading to the pharmacy, I googled an image for a local brand of ibuprofen. In the process of ringing up the product, the pharmacist casually asked, “You wanted the suppository and not oral medicine, right?”

Moral of the Story:

The beauty of the Google Translate app is that instantly translates text in real time, sans WiFi. It’s free and may save you from ingesting something meant for where the sun don’t shine.

The app can currently translate over 27 languages. If you’re so inclined, TechCrunch did an interview with the tool’s Project Manager about how it works.

There’s almost nothing this app can’t do. Speak into the microphone and watch as the app types/translates your native tongue into another language of your choice. Hold your camera up to a sign or product and watch as it translates instantly into your language. Take a photo and scan later at your leisure. Type a phrase or question into the app and instantly get the translation.

Happy (healthy) trails!

-E

 

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