TripLingo: Fixer in your pocket

TripLingo: best travel app ever? battleface blogger Sarah Gayer explores how a little technology can make the travel experience more human.

Who’s His and Hers?

I love thinking of all the hilarious jams TripLingo could’ve got me out of. Like when I was in Kyiv, ending up in a Wild-West themed restaurants (long story) then walking into the novelty-theme labelled (in Cyrillic) bathroom. Scuse me! I thought they were cowgirl boots! Or in my early days of German, confusing ‘Hers’ with ‘Herren,’ thereby solving the mystery of how lederhosen work.

Using TripLingo’s  visual tranlsator, now I can just point my phone at the sign on the door (nothing creepy about that, especially when marked ‘MEN ONLY’ in Japanese, clear for all to see) and the app translates the sign into my choice of languages, 13 so far.

OK, maybe not so great for finding a gender-specific place to wash your hands, this feature works wonderfully with menus.

Toad in the Hole, anyone?

Say your order into the translator app, and it places your order for you in your choice of language. Your startled server can also communicate through your phone. Feel the power! Then go straight to the culture guide, praying you’re not about to eat frogs in dirt sauce. Note: when in China, assume menus are literal.

Don’t feel like subjecting the natives to your robot games? Save the translator for really important things, like ‘Eating peanuts will make me die.’ Then get on with the international language of Point, ordering something that looks yummy at another table.

Zut alors!

Sure, archaic slang is peachy-keen when ironically twirling the moustache of one’s own culture. In another, one risks the peril of being misunderstood (ask a person under 20 the meaning of the word ‘neato’) or seeming outright insulting. Catch up on your slang with TripLingo’s interactive quizzes and flashcards. Unsure whether it’s appropriate? Ask a native before you try it out.

The Good: TripLingo can also search around for WiFi connections, so that you remain connected all the time.

This saves in roaming and data fees.

More Good

The safety info is as dry as a popcorn fart, which it should be. Emergency numbers and links abound. The voice recognition software is pretty good; it understood my English, incruding all zee  accentz I kood tink uv. Less philosophical than Siri, it spat back my questions about humanity and the universe in perfect German, French and Spanish (definitely) and (probably) Japanese and Mandarin. The voice translator is reliable, something you can trust when conveying important information, like food allergies or bank info. But remember, some things just don’t translate: this still won’t get you a decent margarita in rural Bavaria.

The Bad: TripLingo can also search around for WiFi connections, so that you remain connected all the time.

Do you really need reminding that connecting to random WiFi is not safe? Careful out there!

The Ugly

‘I’m not here to make friends’ is something you say on a reality TV competition, not when on an adventure! Think of TripLingo as a fixer in your pocket, not as a sole means of communicating and experiencing the world. Knowing you have a backup, Triplingo allows you to use the best default travel setting: human.

Got a hilarious travel story? Tell us about it!