I have previously reviewed the excellent Langogo Genesis AI-Language Translator; however, depending on the scenario, it is not always the most convenient solution.
The TimeKettle WT2 Plus has a different solution to the problem; their translator adopts an earbud format for hands-free real-time translation. This seems to be a logical solution allowing non-native speakers to understand the environment around them seamlessly.
In particular, during the Huawei Mate 30 launch, I noticed several people converting the announcement from English to Chinese, on handheld devices with the words spoken out audibly. It was mildly irritating to hear, and a device like this would, in theory, allow them to understand everything that is going on discretely.
Similar to the Langogo Genesis, being a native English speaker, a universal translator doesn’t have as much impact on my daily life as others might have. Most European countries and many Asian have English as their second language, this is particularly the case for anyone working in the service industry. Outside of city centre, and for many locals of an older generation English is less common, and I have found quite a few people in Paris and Rome that don’t speak English.
So this device is perhaps aimed less at your stereotypical English/American tourist, but everyone else in the world.
The immediate question that gets raised for a universal translator is why use it instead of Google Translate. Again, as an English speaker that is not very adventurous with my travels, Google Translate is more than adequate, but that represents a relatively small demographic. For anyone else that doesn’t speak English natively and does travel a lot, I think there is a definite benefit to some form of dedicated translator.
TimeKettle WT2 Plus Specification
- 36 LANGUAGES + 84 ACCENTS: Simultaneous 2-way translation in multiple foreign languages. WT2 Plus translator covers 85% of the world's population. Partial List: Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
- 3 MODES WITH APP: World's first AI-powered translation system implementing 3 modes to break language barriers. Simul Mode: Allows for absolutely hands-free and natural conversation, encouraging people to communicate with others. Touch Mode: Touch to speak and then release to translate. Speak Mode: 1 Earphone + 1 Mobile phone enables conversations for more than 2 people. 3 modes were designed for different scenarios. It is perfect for travelling, language learning and business communication.
- 95% ACCURACY & REAL-TIME TRANSLATION: WT2 Plus language translator has 95% ultra-high translation accuracy for daily usage. WT2 has acquired strong external technical support from Google, Microsoft and Tencent AI Lab. Industry-leading AI algorithm enables real-time translation in complex and challenging environments. With auto voice detection and auto pick up, WT2 Plus delivers an immersive translation experience.
- DUAL NOISE REDUCERS & WIRELESS BLUETOOTH CONNECTION: Adaptive Beamforming Algorithm and Adaptive Noise Cancellation based on Neural Network, delivers crystal clear voice and every word is counted without the distraction of background noise. Novel appearance and comfortable to wear. True Wireless Bluetooth connection allows fast, stable audio transmission for up to 20 feet. Easy to connect with IOS & Android operating systems in seconds. Tested and verified in actual environments.
The TimeKettle WT2 Plus supports 36 languages and 84 accents. It is capable of translating in 1-3 seconds providing a near-simultaneous translation service at 85-95% accuracy.
One question you might ask yourself, is what happens if you need to speak to the other person and they can’t understand you? It is possible to share an earphone to allow proper bilingual conversation, and if that raises any hygiene concerns for you, you can optionally use the app which will provide real-time text translation of what you say. It is also possible to have the app read out the translation too.
When wearing the earphones, it works in two modes, auto or manual. With auto it automatically translates everything it picks up, this is ideal in quieter one to one scenarios. Then the manual/touch mode allows you to tough the earpiece for the duration of your sentence.
The translator also has dual noise reducers and adaptive noise cancellation to deliver the best possible voice experience without the distraction of background noise. As these are Bluetooth, there is no need to have your phone close to hand if not needed.
These are not quite your standard small wireless earbuds, due to the technology packed in there, they are quite large, looking more like the Bluetooth phone headsets people used to wear.
The charging case they come with is a little unusual compared to regular earphones, it splits into two with each side having its own battery that will charge each earphone. This allows you to share the earphones with someone much easier.
The earphones are reliant on your phone, you, therefore, need to download the TimeKettle WT2 app and follow the set-up procedure. While you can split the case and share the earphone, they are not totally independent, and you need to have both earphones paired with the same phone.
As I am not bilingual, I had to wing it a little with testing, using my PC to find foreign audio and also use things like Google translate to check everything against. This was all done in my home environment, so I can’t confirm how well it might work in a noisy restaurant or pub when you are on your travels.
During my testing there were no noticeable issues with translation at all, sometimes things may not get translated word for word as you would expect, but this is down to the various idiosyncrasies of languages, mainly because English is just a confusing language.
Impressively there was minimal delay with the translation. It is not instant, but it is close enough that you could maintain a semi-fluent conversation without things feeling too awkward.
With these being wireless earphones, the battery isn’t as long as handheld devices. They are rated for 5 hours of use and battery pack should provide over two full charges, so you should get through most days without issues.
I was impressed with the performance from my testing, and the WT2 Plus is a little more natural and discrete to use compared to a handheld device like the Langogo Genesis.
This is also £50 cheaper than the Langogo Genesis, which makes quite a large difference. The Langogo does have more language options, and it also has better connectivity options. However, I am not sure how much need there is for multiple sim options. My phone uses data from my plan in all European counties, and it is affordable in others. Many phones have dual SIM now, so it is easy enough to get local data on the cheap if needed.
While these may have limited appeal to your stereotypical native English speaker that only visits major cities, for anyone else I can imagine this will help break down language barriers and make both travel and work much more convenient.
Overall - 80%
An accurate, almost real-time translator that is both discrete and easy to use which is likely very useful for none native speakers, adventurous travellers and business people working internationally.
Last update on 2020-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API