When you do business in another country — in person or online—you want to be on the same page as the people you're working with. But what do you do when the words on that page are in a different language? Most of us can't afford to travel with a translator. Here are four tools that will help you understand words in other languages, translate phrases, and interact with your worldwide web of business connections.
|Interlingua Multilingual International Trade Lexicon Interlingua Publications Ltd.
|$95.00||Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish||Developed for international-trade personnel in companies, government agencies, universities, and libraries, Interlingua translates more than 7,000 terms into six different languages. At 792 pages, it's a heavy read. But its international telephone access-code directory is useful enough to copy and put in your pocket.|
|WorldBlaze Multilingual Search Site WorldBlaze LLC www.worldblaze.com||Free||English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish||Most search engines can scan Web pages published in various languages. WorldBlaze is the only one we've found that translates the text of a query, the search results, and even entire Web pages in real time. The results can be spotty, but WorldBlaze's flexible tools do make multilingual Web use easier. WorldBlaze also translates email.|
|Language Teacher 3000 Ectaco Inc. www.ectaco.com||$99.95||English, Greek, Polish, Portuguese, and Russian||The Language Teacher 3000 combines a 400,000-word bilingual dictionary, a currency-conversion calculator, and an organizer to create a slim, pocket-size electronic tool. The phrase book — which covers sayings that you might use at a hotel, while eating out, in emergencies, or when meeting with people — is wide-ranging and practical.|
|Language Teacher 486T Ectaco Inc. www.ectaco.com||$329.95||English, German, Polish, and Russian||Another tool in the Ectaco line, the 486T is a trilingual dictionary that includes a speech function that lets you hear how words are pronounced. You can expand its 650,000-word base by adding new words to the dictionary as you learn them. The 486T also includes a word-by-word translation system and a TOEFL course.|
A version of this article appeared in the April 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.