I was booking some tickets for a trip to Europe recently when I stumbled across a hilarious yet useful free service provided by the airline Emirates. Their iLingual iPhone application not only provides you with lots of useful phrases in French, Arabic, and German, but it lets you do it with your own mouth.
Hilariously, the first thing you need to do is take a picture of your own mouth, and calibrate it. You can choose between male and female voices, and even change the pitch to make it sound higher or lower. Then, you simply select the phrase you want, and hold your phone in front of your mouth, and iLingual makes it seem like you are speaking in another language.
It’s not just for laughs, either. The full versions have over 400 travel-related sentences, and the lite versions can be downloaded directly to your iPhone. That’s a pretty solid phrasebook, if you ask me.
Also, with most electronic phrasebooks (which usually only have a few phrases anyway), you select your phrase, and then you and the listener both have to sort of just stare at your phone and wait for it to make a noise. With iLingual, you can laugh at yourself a little bit, and show the person you’re speaking to that you are not so arrogant as to expect them to communicate wholly in your native language. I’d definitely expect a few stares, though!
Has anyone tried this app yet? What are your thoughts?