English is my first tongue, but my family doesn't have a whole lot of native speakers. So, sadly, I'll often find myself at family functions nodding politely at French jokes aimed my way. Which makes Vocre a godsend for those many awkward family situations.
Vocre is a voice-recognition app that makes it easier for two people to have a conversation across a language barrier. Kinda like having a UN translator in your hand. Plus it's powered by Nuance—
which Apple recently bought—so you know it's capable. The app will prompt you to pick a gender and the languages you want translated. Then you just flip the phone and speak. You'll see what you said onscreen and can retry if it doesn't get things right. You can then hand your phone off to your otherwise unintelligible friend, and they'll get the translation both in text and in the voice of whichever gender you picked. And so on and so forth until you're done chatting. Right now you can translate between English, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, German, and Japanese. Pretty awesome.
It's amazing how accurate it is between statements. So long as you're not mumbling and talking at a reasonable pace, it'll pick up what you're saying even against the din of a crowded office. And it's pretty quick, too. It demonstrates that voice-recognition apps should be seeing more play, despite Apple's being slow to the party up to now.
But! The app is not without a learning curve. The UI could use some work in that swiveling the phone around between phrases caused some frustration while testing it, though the developers definitely want to upgrade to on-the-fly translations. And every single translation costs a credit. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except that one buck gives you ten credits. And those credits can go quick in any conversation. So you'll be spending much more than a dollar to get the most mileage out of it.
Correction: Apple did not buy Nuance, as was rumored earlier this year. It was Siri.
Download this app for:
Fast, accurate translation
Expensive, UI needs work