1. cjvitek's Avatar
    Oxford Translator Spanish Pro, by Oxford Translator
    $4.99, ****


    • Customizable phrases
    • Clear voice translation
    • Good user interface

    • No translation dictionary (English to Spanish)
    • No word list
    • No search or look up function

    The Oxford Translator Spanish Pro app also comes in French, Italian, Mandarin, German, and Portuguese. My assumption is that the app design will be similar for all.

    I know a little Spanish...very little Spanish. But living in the area of Texas that I do, it is a good idea to be able to converse in Spanish, so I have been looking out for good translation programs. The Oxford Translator Pro app seems to be among the best.

    The app is organized by tasks or categories, arranged in a visual layout on the screen with an icon. Tasks include things like conversation, drinks, food, numbers and units, business, emergency, and more. Depending what you want to do (and what situation you find yourself) you can choose the appropriate task. Within each category, you have sub-category offerings. so if you choose travel, for example, you can then choose places, tour, ticket options, parking, customs, and more. Once you choose a sub option, you are presented with the highlight of the translation process - a screen I call "build a phrase".

    With the "build a phrase" screen, you get to choose or build the phrase you want to say. Each build the phrase screen has a number of buttons with either a word or three, each of which is part of a phrase. You can either tap a button to see how that phrase translates, or you can use the guided "create a phrase" option. When you start, some of the buttons will be highlights blue, with a number "1" badge. These are your options for the first part of the phrase - choose which you want. Then, based on your choice, the second options will light up (sometimes there is only one option, so you don't really have a choice). Then, based on the second choice, you get to choose the third part of the phrase (from the tiles lit up in blue with the number three badge). It is an interactive process designed to let you custom build the phrases that you need (rather than try on your own to plug in various words into existing phrases). Some phrases even let you go beyond just three components.

    So, let's run through an example. For the category, I chose business, then job title. I only have one first option - "I am". After I hit that, three options lit up: "the manager", "the director", and "the head". I selected the director. Seven more options lit up: "of operations", "of sales", "of marketing"...well, you get the idea. I chose sales, and my phrase was "Soy el gerente de ventas" or "I am the manager of sales".

    There are a total of 210 categories to choose from, so a wide area of phrases are available. When you have your phrase selected, you can repeat it by taping on the speaker icon. Unfortunately, you can't create a "favorites" list of phrases that may be used more regularly - this would be a great feature to have. It would also be nice to be able to look up specific words, or have an English to Spanish translation dictionary. These features would make the app more functional as a replacement for the all-purpose phrase book, but as it stands, the app is pretty functional on its own.

    The translation voice is clear, and a friend of mine (native Spanish speaker) said he could understand the voice with no problem. You can't choose different voice options, but that is a minor quibble.

    All in all, this app has a nice design and I love the ability to customize your own phrases.
    It would be a five star app if i included a translation dictionary (or search function) and the ability to save key, frequently used phrases (instead of having to recreate them each time). As it is, however, the option of creating phrases that you need (instead of relying on phrases that someone else thinks you may need is enough to give this $4.99 app four out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.
    10-22-2009 04:32 PM
  2. redcool's Avatar
    High value and low on features..
    07-22-2010 07:42 AM