Continental Europeans may be able to speak our language but the reverse is not often the case. Most of us are pretty dumb as soon as we arrive on holiday in France, Germany, Italy or Spain.
Franklin's portable device promises to make up for our ignorance. The five language European translator does what it says: takes words and phrases in one of five languages and translates them into your target language.
It is very easy to use. Once you have set your source and target language, you type in a word and press enter. This brings up several options. Typing in the word 'train' gives twelve options including train station, train timetable, high speed train etc. Select the most appropriate, press enter and the translation appears.
We tested the translator on a trip to Spain. For handling basic words it worked fine and was more portable than a dictionary. We also tried it in a few restaurants when we wanted to understand what was on the menu. It translated none of the dishes that we typed in. It did manage things like chicken, cheese and rice but we knew these already.
The translator also stores 5,000 phrases across the five languages in categories such as Doing Business and Food and Drink. The display is only big enough to show a couple of words at a time. A forward arrow lets you scroll through phrases.
There is space to store 100 names and telephone numbers although we wondered if anyone would want to use their translator for storing this sort of information. There is also a calculator, converter for currency and measurements and two games: Hangman and a quiz that tests your language translation skills.
There are at least 250,000 words in the English language. Having access to about 8,000 words in five different European means you are often no better off. It may be very easy to use but having no PC connection means you cannot customise it and add to the vocabulary.