When traveling internationally, good language skills are what separate the bon vivants from the booboisie. Next time you find yourself linguistically challenged, whip out the Universal Translator UT 106 from Ectaco Inc. Here's how it works: Simply speak the desired phrase into the unit's built-in microphone. The palm-sized machine uses speech-to-speech technology to translate the phrase to one of six languages. Then the Translator talks back, providing the correct pronunciation via a built-in speaker. Easy to use, the unit can store 2,000 sentences in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. And you can go to the Web and download additional phrases. Bravo! Scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2001, the Universal Translator UT 106 will retail for around $200.
Visit Ectaco on the Web (www.ectaco.com).
A version of this article appeared in the March 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.