The Babel Fish Comes to Phones

Douglas Adams famously envisaged a fish that you stuck in your ear, which then miraculously allowed you to understand all languages simultaneously, including truly awful Vogon poetry. Cool Gorilla’s new mobile app doesn’t go quite so far, but it is a sign of things to come. In example – if you attempt mobile app – you’ll quickly realize how this is a growing industry.

Talking Phrase Books are a downloadable application for mobiles and provide spoken French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Greek – and I’m sure a Vogon version is in the planning stage. Once you’ve downloaded, installed and opened the app, you simply click on the phrase you want to say and the phone says it out loud. In my case (Nokia E61) it uses the loudspeaker setting, so you don’t even have to try to repeat it yourself.

A deal with means that it’s offered as a free download, so visit from your PC or Mac (for sideloading) or directly from your mobile.

One day, I’m sure that the phone will be able to provide the full Babel Fish service, so give this a try and let your imagination do the rest.

Gripe: Not Cool Gorilla’s fault, but why oh why can’t we have some consistency about where applications get installed, so users can find them easily? It’s like buying a car and finding that the manufacturer moves the steering wheel around from seat to seat completely randomly.

For American readers, you might like to know that Adams borrowed the name, Hotblack Desiato (the rock star in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, who was spending a year dead for tax reasons) from a London (Real) Estate Agency.

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