Translate Anytime, Anywhere
The small, portable, easily pocketable handheld Fluentålk translator device from Timekettle promises 95% accuracy and four helpful modes: Ask for Directions, Listen Mode, Chat Translation, and Voice Memo. Enjoy image/photo translation, quick ~0.2second translation, the ability to adjust the rate of text to speech, global use, free 2-year international cellular data plan, 40 languages, 93 accents, World clocks, Currency Exchange data, 13-pack languages offline, one-click instant translation, and a 4" HD touchscreen. Easily communicate with others, break down barriers, and "Stay Connected to the World" with the amazing must-have Fluentålk T1 universal translator.
- Ease of use
Handheld Language Translator Device
According to a June 9, 2022, lingua.edu article, there are approximately 7106 living languages, 2508 Bible language translations, and 915 languages that are considered dying. When you ponder about travel and the ability to reach nearly any point on the planet within about a day (longest nonstop flight is Singapore to New York, 9537 miles at 18 hours 50 minutes), I wonder how long it will take for languages to blend/homogenize? What will be the final tally when travel times seem to approach instantaneous? What languages will be spoken by most people?
Currently, the top 10 languages are English (~1.45 Billion), Mandarin Chinese (~1.12 Billion), Hindi (~602 Million), Spanish (~548 million), French (~274 Million), Standard Arabic (~274 Million), Bengali (~272 Million), Russian (~258 Million), Portuguese (~257 Million), Urdu (~231 Million). Interestingly, the Cinema Language of the Solomon Islands is the least spoken language with a single surviving speaker. Sadly, several languages are at extreme risk of extinction within the next few years and efforts are underway to attempt to capture examples in written and spoken forms.
The importance of communication expands as we become more interconnected and global in tourism, business, and education. Beyond academic programs like university or primary school settings, one can turn to Apps/programs like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo. These can provide some assistance for those interested in gaining some mastery over a single to few languages and learning some of the academic nuances. For those who may travel to several countries with multiple distinct dialects/accents/languages, using a universal translator/software may provide a much-needed boost. The ability to communicate with someone in their native language could open doors that would have remained inaccessible.
As a portmanteau of fluent/talk, the Fluentålk portable translator device strives to decrease language barriers. The device arrived in a 4 5/8 inches wide by 6 inches tall by 1 5/8 inches thick retail package. The cover panel was divided into clean-white, larger segment toward the left, and a sea foam green smaller segment to the right. You will find the product name at the top left, “portable translator” along the top right, T1 along the bottom right, and the main showcase product image at the center of the panel. The slightly raised, glossy image of the phone-shaped translation device provided a great representation of the translator, the HD screen, and the three side buttons.
The image of the screen suggested clear visual translation, and suggested WiFi, LTE, and Bluetooth connectivity based on the icons at the top of the panel. The image on the screen showed a Spanish-to-English communication followed by an English-to-Spanish communication and provided a microphone icon at the bottom suggesting the ability to add audio communication to the visual dialog. The top/bottom and side panels listed the Fluentålk name, while the main spine listed five product-defining icons: 1. Small in 1/2 passport size. 2. 0.2-second instant translation. 3. 40 Languages 93 accents. 4. Quad-Core 12NM High-performance CPU. 5. Maximum 95% accuracy. I liked the clean white edges and felt that the black-on-white contrast was well done. Additionally, the sea foam green accent colors provided a refreshing splash of color.
Even though the rear panel proved to be a bit busier than the others, it ended up being a necessity. The top section listed the product specifications (116.8 x 58.6 x 11.2 mm 115g, quad core arm 12NM 2.0GHz cpu, 3G RAM/32GB ROM, Android 10 OS, 4.0 Oncell 540×1080 screen size, 8 Megapixel camera, dual speaker, multi-microphone array, Type-C 5V/1A charging, 1500mAh battery, WiFi/Nano-sim/E-sim, 2g/3g/4g LTE wireless technology), four product defining icons (4 inch QHD+ touch screen, ask for directions/chat in multiple modes, multi-mic array, 2 year international unlimited data plan for free), and an attractive ink outline of the device.
The lower segment listed product manufacturing labels, Bluetooth icon, UPC barcodes, and two language defining tables (13 Pairs of offline translation, 40 languages/93 accents online): 1. English to Chinese/Japanese/Korean/French/German/Spanish/Russian. 2. Chinese to English/Japanese/Korean/French/German/Spanish/Russian. Online languages include: English/Chinese/Japanese/Korean/French/German/Spanish/Russian/Portuguese/Italian/Dutch/Danish/Norwegian/Swedish/Finnish/Icelandic/Greek/Ukrainian/Czech/Slovak/Croatian/Bulgarian/Romanian/Slovenian/Thai/Vietnamese/Indonesian/Malay/Filipino/Telugu/Tamil/Hindi/Arabic/Turkish/Urdu/Catalan/Polish/Hungarian/Hebrew/Cantonese.
I removed the outer plastic, then separated the left outer section of the box from the right/inner segment. Within the box, you will first find a cardboard accessory box containing a cardboard card/SIM removal tool and a 64-page multilingual instruction manual. Beneath the manual, you will find the 4.1-ounce, 2 5/16 inches wide by 4 9/16 inches tall by 3/8 inches thick translator. Lastly, hidden beneath the translator, you will find the accessory box with 6 1/2 inches long wrist lanyard and 39 3/4 inches long white-colored, rubberized, round-style USB-A to USB-C charging cable. Overall, the product was well-packaged, organized, and presented.
Before testing the device, I evaluated the surface features and button layout. Resembling a book, the device had a rounded spine with three color-coded buttons, a flat grey top, bottom, and left side panel, and a front panel with a sleek 4 7/16 inches tall by 2 inches wide dark HD screen against a metallic grey frame. Along the right edge of the screen, you will find five speaker cutouts and indicator lights. The rounded right side provided a circular 1/4 inches diameter power button with central yellow identifier, an oval-shaped 7/32 inches wide by 13/32 inches tall button with central blue oval identifier (other language), and an oval-shaped 7/32 inches wide by 13/32 inches tall button with a central red oval identifier (primary language).
The flat top panel had two oval-shaped microphone cutouts, while the bottom panel had a lanyard slot, USB-C charging port, and a few other small cutouts for another microphone and speakers. The flat left side panel had a port for a SIM card and a 5/8 inches long by 1/16 inches tall volume up/down button. I liked the layout/design of the product and found the buttons perfectly aligned for quick access for a right-handed individual. Holding the device in my right hand, I could easily access the three spine buttons with my thumb, while also accessing the volume buttons with my pointer finger.
I plugged the included USB-A to USB-C cable between a standard 5V/2A USB port and the device and was impressed with the quality of the bright HD screen. Once the device was connected to power, it displayed a vibrant lightning bolt charging indicator, and a battery icon with percentile. Excitedly, while the device charged (30-40 minutes out of the box) to full, I reviewed the English section of the multilingual manual. The first page provided a helpful packaging list (translator, charging cable USB-A to USB-C, slot pin, wrist lanyard, and user manual) and button layout diagram.
The second page detailed the basic unit operation (power on/off/restart, charging, install nano-SIM card, Use WLAN hotspot, lanyard installation, Gestures), while the third and fourth pages walked the user through the translation functions (One click Translation, Photo Translation, Ask for Directions mode, Listen Mode, Chat Translation, Offline Translation, Translation Settings). The final two pages provided information about FAQ, product specifications, safety, warranty information, and contact information. The subsequent pages provided instructions in Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Korean (Hangul), Arabic, Russian, and Traditional Chinese.
I pressed and held the power button to activate the device. The bright screen displayed the time along the top left of the screen, while the top right provided signal strength and battery icons. The midsection of the screen showed a large bold white digital military time and date (day, month, date) above an image of the globe. The lower segment of the screen showed options for “one-click Translation,” “Photo Translation,” and the ability to change the two languages. From the main screen, you will find one language with a blue icon (other language) and another with a red icon (native language). To test the “One-Click” feature, I set the red button to English and the Blue button to American Spanish. I sat down with my friend Jesus and had a fun little conversation. Hold the red button, talk into the microphone, and the device will translate your statement. “How are you today? Quickly translated as ¿Cómo estás hoy? When the other button was held down, my friend was able to communicate back ¿Estoy bien y tú? (I’m good and you?)” We were able to have a conversation and used the device to go back and forth. If you tap the three hamburger icon, you can set the device for offline translation, adjust the speaking interval, or toggle on/off the voice announcement. I did not find a feature to change the voice or to change the gender from female to male.
The translation was quick and worked nearly flawlessly, living up to the 95% accuracy mentioned on the website and packaging. My wife and I changed the language to English/French, and then Spanish/French, and found the translation worked great. One of my son’s friends was taking the German language in school, while my son was taking Spanish. We tested the App/features with some of their basic coursework and found that the translations were prompt, succinct, and grammatically well-constructed.
From the main screen, tap the Photo Translation option to navigate to the photo screen. The new panel will provide a 3×3 grid with instruction to “Keep text aligned with the reference line,” which runs vertically. You can tap the photo icon along the bottom left to translate or you can snap a picture in real time. I tested the Spanish to English translation using a few Billboards and comics and found the translation was passable but not as good as the voice to translate. One of the downsides of the mode/feature is that you will need to make sure that you set the language before taking the picture.
Unfortunately, it cannot register the language type and then translate it for you. You will need to select the language prior to snapping the photo, or save it to translate at a later time (Note from Timekettle: The next generation-T1 mini can automatically identify the language you set). I tried the feature with Russian to English, Spanish to English, French to English, German to English, and Chinese to English. I was impressed with the quality and speed of the translation but did note the translations were less literal/formal than with the text/speech options.
If you swipe from the right to the left, you will navigate to the third screen. The panel had additional feature modes such as Ask for Directions, Chat Translation, Listen Mode, Voice memo, User Guide, Common Expressions, SOS, Settings. The Ask For Directions feature provided a helpful/useful method to start a conversation. I loved the ability to preset a custom statement of communication. The default “Excuse me, can you help me? We can use this translator to communicate” summarized the need/utility quite well and served as a useful ice breaker. You can add/change the default or hold-touch over the saved custom phrases to delete them. The feature was quite useful as a conversation starter. You can tap the three hamburger icon at the top right, add conversation starters for different languages/scenarios, and set them to default. When you double-press the power button, the preset phrase will play.
The “Chat Translation” feature opened a two-panel screen with one half facing toward you and another toward the other individual. The dual Fluentålk translator microphones were designed to capture directional sound to translate your language to the other person, and then their language back to you. The mode captured the verbal conversation, composed the text in your language on your side, and then written text and audio on the other side. If you want to hear the translation again, you can tap the microphone option to replay the sound clip. You can tap the language option in the top right of your segment to change the language selection.
I liked the playback option, and the option to read/hear the translation. I used the feature with English to Spanish, Polish to English, Polish to Spanish, French to English, and French to Spanish. I did not have anyone locally to test other languages. I found the translation to be quite well done for Spanish/French and was passable for Polish (per my test contact). Some of the translations were a bit too literal but were understandable. As noted above, the device appeared to maintain a 95% accuracy.
The Listen Mode created a one-way real-time listen/written translate function, while the voice memo allowed the user to capture messages. As an added convenience, you can adjust the speaking interval to the habits of each individual. The helpful User Guide laid out each mode and provided several panels worth of information/guidance. If you tap the Common Expressions mode, the panel will show the following options: Urgency, Traffic, hospital, Bank, Hotel, Restaurant, Shopping, Attractions. If you tap/open one of the options, you can employ common phrases.
As an example, if you tap Hospital you can select options like “Soy alérgico a los antibióticos,” “I am allergic to antibiotics,” or “Tengo un poco de resfriado y fiebre,” “I have a cold and fever.” You can tap Restaurant, “¿Hay mesa para tres personas?,” “Is there a table for 3 people?,” or ¿Cuánto tiempo tenemos que Esperar,” “How long do we have to wait.” This mode allows you to choose amongst a variety of standard quick phrase features. Once the translator gives the information, hold the blue button on the device when the person answers for the translator to give you information back in your language.
Throughout the testing process, we only had issues with busy/loud environments picking up ambient noise/sounds. Moving to quieter locations improved accuracy and nuanced communication translation. I loved the features, the easy-to-use system, and that each device provides 2-year’s worth of free international data. I could pair the device to Bluetooth earphones, to my local network, and could enjoy downloaded languages when needed. Through the settings section, you can change the base language, evaluate the storage space (32GB) and delete stored conversations (by date), adjust the date/time (sync network time or change between 12H/24H), adjust the SOS options/see the area code, and download languages for offline use.
When I swiped from left to right, the translator device showed a clock for Tokyo and Washington. When I tapped the clocks, I found that I could change to Americas: USA, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Dominica Republic, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Europe: France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, United Kingdom, Austria, Greece, Russia, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Ukraine, Poland, Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Iceland Asia: China, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, UA, Iran, Bahrain, Jordan, Israel, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Phillippines, Indonesia, Africa: Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Côte d’lvoire, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Oceania: Austrian, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea. Many of the countries had additional options. If you select USA, you can change between Washington, Anchorage, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York. As an example, I set the time to Paris GMT+01:00 (04:56 am) and Chicago GMT-06:00 (21:56 PM).
Below the clocks, you will find a currency exchange feature, allowing you to evaluate the exchange rates between countries 1D=17.966MXN=0.910FR EUR=6.890 CNY YUAN etc. I compared the values at the time of the writing to online sources and found the device had accurate spot prices. I liked the main screen Translation Record feature, which allowed the user to scroll back through the recent One-Click Translation history. I liked that the feature maintained the last conversations so that I could return to review the conversation chain at a later time. Additionally, if you tap each translation, you can play/hear them again.
I used a USB-A to USB-C 5V/2A wall charger with the USB-A to USB-C cable. Starting at 1642 at 1%, the translator increased to 5% by 1646, to 24% by 17:00, to 40% by 17:10, and 50% by 17:18. The translator was at 100% when I rechecked it at 18:05. I was pleased that the product took just over an hour to charge to full. I could use the device for several hours at a time over a weekend before needing to charge the device. You can expect the device to last several days on a single charge if offline and in airplane mode.
My only complaint/gripe/plainte/queja (etc.) was that the device did not have a carry case or screen protector (Note from Timekettle: This is already in process for the accessory list and it’s expected to be sold in the next half year). A belt loop holster would have been very helpful for easy access or possibly, a small felt pouch. Despite the single negative, I found so many positive features of the device. I loved the small cellphone-like size, the button layout, the touch controls, and the intuitive mode/screen layouts. The mid-screen one-touch translation was likely the most used feature, followed by the Chat Translation.
The included common expressions were a fantastic option for those who wanted a quick conversation starter. The ask-for-directions feature provided a helpful/useful method to start the conversation, a quick, easy-access button combination, and the ability to adjust the ice-breakers as needed. I loved the ability to preset custom statements of communication. The default “Excuse me, can you help me? We can use this translator to communicate” summarized the need/utility quite well.
If you want a highly portable, easy-to-use, offline-abled, handheld device, look to the Timekettle T1 Fluentålk device.