Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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May 7, 2012 • Reviews, Travel

With SayHi for iOS You Get Accurate Translations on the Fly

Esta es una aplicación sorprendente para cualquiera que quiera comunicarse en un idioma diferente, pero no tiene el tiempo para aprender. Sorprendentemente sólo $ 0,99. Se le permitirá hablar en cualquier número de idiomas iniciales y luego se traducirá automáticamente el idioma por primera vez en la segunda. Y para muchos de los idiomas que no sólo va a dar a un texto, sino que también hablará el texto por usted para que usted sepa lo que suena. Por supuesto, la aplicación funciona con las tecnologías de Nuance y su voz a los servicios de transcripción de texto. El aspecto desafortunado para mí es que no existe en hebreo incluido, pero hay muchos otros idiomas disponibles.

I just wrote the introductory paragraph above. Thing is, I don’t speak Spanish. I took years of it in High School but when I began to learn Hebrew every single word of it disappeared from my head. (Or perhaps got locked away in some corner but the result is the same- I don’t recall a word of it.) I wrote the paragraph, or, more accurately, dictated it, thanks to an amazing app called SayHi. Here’s what I said-

This is an amazing application for anyone who wants to communicate in a different language but doesn’t have the time to learn it. Amazingly it is only $.99. It will let you speak in any number of initial languages and then it will automatically translate the first language into the second one. And for many of the languages it will not only give you text but it will also speak the text for you so that you know what it sounds like.

Of course the application is powered by Nuance technologies and their voice to text transcription services. The unfortunate aspect for me is that there is no Hebrew included but there are numerous other languages available.

Here’s the main window that is presented when you begin using the app.

You can choose the primary and secondary languages in the settings area. There are a few other settings from which to choose but they are kept to a minimum, that’s a good thing because it makes using the app simple and straight forward.

I also appreciate the fact that the app lets you input the initial text via voice or the keyboard. Voice is obviously faster but if you are using the app for business or in a loud location it just isn’t practical. Also nice is the fact that you can mix input formats on the fly.


For those languages that are supported, once the text is translated the app will also speak the new text. This is a great way to learn a language or, if you like, “speak”to someone else. It also opens the door to another neat possibility. Just imagine you are taking a trip and there are key phrases you will need to use over and over again. You can simple program them into the keyboard shortcuts area and then, whenever you need a phrase, simply type the shortcut and let the iPad or iPhone do the rest by expanding into the full phrase.

Finally, when you have the text you want you can select it and either send it in an email or copy and past.

It is an amazing app that is rather mind blowing the first, or the tenth time you use it. Grab it here.


What I Like
: Fast; Appears accurate; Just $0.99


What Needs Improvement
: I wish it offered Hebrew as one of the languages

3 Responses to " With SayHi for iOS You Get Accurate Translations on the Fly "

  1. cgavula says:

    I like this app.  I do wish they supported more languages though.  I sent them a note asking what languages they plan to support and what they were using as their actual translation source(engine).  I think that’s important to know since, for example, Google Translate has a WIDE variety of translation quality issues.  Their Spanish and German translations are very good.  Their Slavic languages so-so, and many of their Asian language tranlations are barely functional.  So knowing who is doing the translating is helpful, but their website doesn’t seem to indicate the source!

    Another thing I think is missing from most translation services and apps is the ability to distinguish between formal and informal speech. Very important since it can mean the difference between a correct translation (socially speaking) or an embarassing situation!

  2. Audio Transcription says:

    Automatic transcription software breaks if the speaker has non-american accents

    • cgavula says:

      It’s speech is powered by Nuance (the makers of Dragon Dictation, etc.) and I know that even though I speak with an American accent (there are MANY different American accents, of course, not just one), it sometimes has difficulty with the way I speak certain words, so the fact that it has difficulty with non-American accents really is not a surprise to me.  It’s limited tolerance for accent variation has long been a concern of mine that Dragon never seems to quite address.  I’m know they are aware of it and I’m sure they are trying to come up with ways to address it, but I haven’t seen anything practical change yet.

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