Remember the universal translator on Star Trek? It was a microphone-like handheld device that auto translated alien languages to English.
The Star Trek universal translator even helped aliens to lip sync in English. Is there a next best thing for Mac users? Sadly, no.
Computer translating is difficult. Languages have so many nuances and context meanings that the computer, so far, just can’t grasp.
What a computer can do is translate word-for-word, and hope you kinda sorta get the idea of what’s being written or said without mucking around much in the context of each word.
TranslateIt! is a one touch translation dictionary for Mac and Windows users, and claims it can translate any word from an language.
Wait. No, TranslateIt! doesn’t say that. What it says is, “Have you been looking for a Mac OS X dictionary that can translate any word from any language, for a long time?”
I’m not sure how to take that question. Does it take a long time to translate a word? Probably not. Any language? Is there a built-in translator for Andorian, or Klingon?
TranslateIt! is a utility that translates words on-the-fly. It’s a multilingual dictionary that works while you read and looks up the definition of words in different languages.
Just point your mouse pointer to a word in any Mac Cocoa application (caveat alert!) and the translation shows up in a pop up window. You know. Sort of like the pop up advertisements on Mac360 which help us to pay my hairstylist and manicurist bills.
TranslateIt! translates from the clipboard, drag and drop, manual lookup, and double-click, and the ever present point to a word and wait for the pop up.
How many languages? No Klingon, no Vulcan, or anything else so common. But TranslateIt! does have dictionaries for English, Russian, French, German, Spanish, and various levels of mix and match, such as French to Russian, English to Arabic.
There’s also dictionaries for Russian to Polish, English to Chinese and back again. Esperanto is as close to a foreign language as TranslateIt! gets.
Remember that Caveat Alert?
The pop up, on-the-fly translations only work in Mac Cocoa applications. Cocoa is Apple’s name for its collection of API’s and frameworks that are one of the development layers of OS X.
I wonder if TranslateIt! has a translation from Gobbldygook to English?
TranslateIt! can be used for 20 days before purchase. A one year license is $23.
Amazingly, TranslateIt! works, though you have to download the appropriate language dictionary. It’s faster than using the translation Dashboard Widget that comes with Mac OS X, but not by much.