Why pay nearly 200 bucks if Google can translate for you for free? That’s probably the most popular concern of the public in the market of translators. Fair enough – with so many products and services available online for no charge, so what is it that we are willing to pay for? To find it out, let’s compare Travis Touch Plus and Google Translate in fine detail.
Travis Touch Plus
Launched in 2017, Travis is a pocket-sized translation device designed for multilingual communication in 105 languages. While being a young startup with a small international team, Travis assists travel enthusiasts, businesses, and public service institutions in over 100 countries around the world. Travis gained the audience’s interest from early on – its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign reached 1.7M dollars and a year later, in 2018, the startup won the Sprout Startup of the Year prize. Travis has donated several hundred devices for aid organizations and supported the operations of the Travis Foundation, aimed at digitalization of lesser resourced languages.
Google Translate was introduced to the tech giant’s Google product umbrella in 2006. It is an online translation service which offers text, speech, image, document, handwrite, website and Mobile App translations. The translation service supports 103 languages and is free of charge. Since the launch, Google Translate had several engine updates, the most recent one including the deep learning technology which allows the software to “learn” while it is in use. The latest technological developments increased the translation accuracy by shifting from the basic word-to-word translations to phrases and sentences being translated as a whole. Now translations are configured directly from one language to another rather than English being used as an intermediate language.
Travis vs Google Translate
The main difference between Travis and Google Translate is that Travis actually uses the Google translation engine among 13 others, including Microsoft and Baidu engines. The reason for this is simple: the Google translation engine provides the most accurate translations between western languages while African and Asian languages score poorly. Usually, different translation engines have their focus on several core languages that have the best “understanding” of its semantic structure, vocabulary, grammar, and phrasing. Travis has implemented Artificial Intelligence (AI) to choose the best matching engine for each interlingual translation that way providing the most accurate results. For example, if the translation is requested from Spanish to English, then AI would select the highest scored translation engine, which is most likely to be the Google translation engine. If Chinese is being translated to English, then Travis will most likely provide the translation based on the Baidu translation engine since it usually has the most accurate Chinese-English translations. Translation quality re-evaluations are performed weekly to update the accuracy scores.
For high-quality speech translations, well-designed hardware is a necessity. First, because of its technical specifications. Travis as a device outperforms a mobile phone with its dual noise-canceling microphone, 12-hour battery life, user-friendly interface, and the main selection button for translating and enabling voice commands. When outdoors or in a noisy environment, Travis is able to capture what is spoken due to its sensitive microphone. Moreover, the device allows you to hold an eye-to-eye conversation, minimizing the technological interruption between speakers. With the main selection button and voice commands, the conversation becomes more natural and the discomfort of the real-life translating is reduced. Secondly, the translation device provides higher data security. No need to handle-over your mobile phone to a stranger with sensitive information in it nor to connect it to unsecured Wi-Fi in order to translate. Travis can be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or 4G.
Best used for
Due to the differences in characteristics, Travis and Google Translate each have their own advantages for different occasions. Travis with its optimized design for the outdoor active translations avails the most when traveling, being face to face with another person, using public services or learning a new language and practicing pronunciation. The device is widely used within companies where multilingual communication is present whether it is a colleague-to-colleague or staff-to-customer conversation. Google Translate is rather suitable for indoor translations where the phone or computer is available at hand. It is well-adapted for passive translating which includes translating documents, websites, emails or handwritten texts. When there is no human interaction, Google Translate serves as a handy tool with its ability to take in-app pictures or be installed as a plug-in to your web browser.
So why pay 200 bucks if Google can translate for you for free?
Translation by default is unnatural to our casual conversation mode – someone or something is in-between us, the two speakers. In such a case, the technology has to be of the highest quality and performance, specifically adapted to be used anywhere and at any time. When traveling, meeting a business partner from abroad or visiting a hospital in a foreign country, the last thing you want is inaccurate translations, a stolen phone, leaked personal data or a dead phone battery. Accordingly, you pay for your own ease in international situations which already often require stepping out of the comfort zone. For this reason, let technology assist you in the most elegant way.