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Quicktionary pen scanner reads foreign tongues

Wizcom's Quicktionary TS Premium pen might be handy if you're stuck in a foreign airport with nothing but local magazines you can't read.

Wizcom's Quicktionary TS Premium can store up to 20,000 lines of scanned text. Wizcom

Google's Translate app for iPhone can help you communicate when you travel abroad, but what if you want to read in the vernacular? Wizcom's Quicktionary TS Premium pen might be worth tossing in your suitcase.

The handheld, 400dpi-resolution scanner weighs 3.5 ounces. It can read seven languages and store up to 20,000 lines of text.

You wouldn't want to go scanning a whole novel in Chinese, but the odd magazine article would be a great way to use it.

The text is displayed on the touch screen, and the pen can read some languages aloud through a built-in speaker. It's meant to make the process of looking up an unknown bit of text less time-consuming than paper and electronic dictionaries.

The pen can also transfer stored text to a PC, PDA, or smartphone via USB and any Windows-based application.

Wizcom says the TS Premium supports 45 dictionaries with more than 300,000 words each. It's an improvement over the TS model, which does English-French, French-English, English-Spanish, Spanish-English, and American Heritage Dictionaries.

Most dictionaries in the TS Premium, however, seem to be geared to students of English; there's an English-to-Mongolian dictionary, for instance, but not the reverse. English translations are available for texts in Chinese, Spanish, German, Italian, French, and Hebrew.

If you want to ramp up your linguistic skills, the Quicktionary TS Premium has a base price of $289.95 on Wizcom's site.