In a recent study of over 4,500 business travelers from eight countries, it was revealed that the number one concern of business travelers abroad is overcoming language barriers (26%). Among the other cultural concerns were understanding cultural norms (13%), navigation (21%), as well as meeting and presenting to new people (16%)—basically, business travelers are significantly stressed by regional differences and etiquette. Luckily, two recent developments may have the power to quell the nerves of any business traveler.
First, Google Translate (which was already amazing!) can now be used offline without WiFi or data on iOS. That means all travelers have access to a linguist in their pocket that is fluent in over 50 languages. The app now offers downloadable packages in 52 languages for offline use that have also been compressed so that they download faster and use less of your phone’s precious storage. To use the Offline function, all you have to do is open the app and tap the arrow next to the language you want to download and you will have access to carry out text translations without WiFi while you’re abroad!
Second, a new earpiece invention, The Pilot, is being developed by Waverly Labs for the international traveler. The earpiece and accompanying app use speech-recognition technology to translate in real time, so that two people speaking different languages can hold a conversation without learning a new language! Each participant will take an earpiece and be able to communicate with one another in their native tongue without any difficulty. The Pilot will be available in European-based languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Italian; and later, Slavic, Semitic, Hindi, and East Asian languages will also be available. The earpieces are currently priced at $299 and should be available by Spring of next year.