The iPod as a language translator
Talking Panda's iLingo turns your iPod into an audio phrase book that can guide you through your foreign travels by providing common words and phrases and their pronunciations. At the moment, there are two language packs available: European (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian) for $49.95 and Asian (Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean) for $39.95. iLingo programs can be downloaded from the company site, and Apple stores sell boxed copies. The programs will run on Mac or Windows systems, but your iPod must be a newer model with a dock connector (it won't work with the Shuffle).
To use iLingo, simply load the software onto your computer and sync your iPod--the software will occupy 30MB of your iPod's hard drive. You then access it through the Notes function; you first select the type of phrase you want (for example, Dining, Hotels, Emergency), and then choose from several entries. Every phrase is both written out and pronounced clearly and slowly by native speakers. Turn on the iPod's repeat function to loop the phrase. And check out Talking Panda's Web site for a great Flash demo.
Four hundred fifty words and phrases aren't that many, so you won't find everything you want to say. For example, you won't find the translations for "Does this look infected?" or "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him." Also, you can only load one language at time on your iPod, so even though you have a multilanguage pack, you won't be able to use them all at once.