So you’re looking to work with an overseas supplier for parts. Or you need to hire a programmer whose English is fractured at best. Now what? Do you really need to hire a translator just so you can communicate with these folks?
Nope: Hire an app instead. Sendboo for iOS translates text messages in real-time, effectively turning the language barrier into a language floodgate. Now you can communicate with pretty much anyone, anywhere, as long as they have a smartphone or tablet. (An Android version of the app is expected later this quarter.)
Sendboo works like just about any other messaging app you’ve used. After setting your preferred language, you simply tap out a message and then send it. Servers translate it on the fly to the preferred language of the recipient. Or recipients: The app supports group chats in addition to one-on-ones.
This is kind of a big deal. Without spending a dime, you can communicate with customers, co-workers, suppliers, marketers, and anyone else who might fit into your global business plans. And because it’s a messaging app, it’s a better solution than, say, Google Translate, which requires you to be in the same room as the other person.
Sendboo currently supports 30 languages, from Arabic to Chinese to Russian to Thai. Unfortunately, Hindi isn’t on the list, a bummer if you have contacts in, say, India.
Because I don’t currently work with any non-English speakers, I wasn’t able to put Sendboo to the translation test. However, the interface is admirably clean and simple, and I like how easy it is to create contact groups and export chat logs.
If you’ve had the chance to use Sendboo, hit the comments and let your fellow readers know how it went. Of course, because it’s free, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. And if you decide you don’t like the ad banners, you can pay just $3.99 for an ad-free Sendboo experience.
For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.