One-button translator gadget enters the market

The project of the most primitive device for translating words into a foreign speech in a year has grown from a prototype to the level of a commercial product. It is called "ili", is full of flaws and does not remove language barriers at all. But this is the kind of gadget that tourists will surely want to take with them.

The translator is made in a stick-and-button design, devoid of a touch screen and any controls. All you can do with it is say the phrase and press the button, after which it will be automatically translated and immediately voiced. It takes less than a second, but it works only in one direction - if the interlocutor answers you in his own language, the device will remain silent.

The user must put in his pocket an ili with a specific firmware in advance: translation from English to Japanese, from French to Chinese or from Spanish to Russian. The choice of languages ​​for today is scanty to the point of disgrace, but they promise to fix it with the release of updates in the future. Plus there is a limitation on the vocabulary - you will have to communicate only with stingy, formulaic phrases on standard topics.

But there is no connection to a smartphone or even the Internet, ili works completely autonomously, out of coverage areas and away from electrical outlets. It is assumed that a savvy tourist will use it as a lifesaver in difficult situations. The scheme for working with ili should be built so that the interlocutor can answer your question "yes" or "no" with the help of all understandable gestures.

It is difficult to assess the effectiveness of speech recognition and translation - there are too many restrictions in ili's work at this stage. Speech is not displayed as text, so you have to rely on chance when exchanging information with someone. The cost of this pleasure: $ 189 at the fundraising stage to launch a startup and $ 250 later, when selling at retail.