Traveling with technology is an interesting thing. When I first began my adventures back in 2009 very few travelers carried any technology with them at all. On my first trip to Thailand I have very vivid memories of popping Thai Baht into the computers at internet cafes just to get 15 minutes of dial-up time. This was only ten years ago, but as you know world travel has changed drastically even since then.
During my first year of travel in Thailand, I found it incredibly difficult to communicate (even when both parties were speaking in broken English). Just a few weeks into my travels I began learning the basics of Thai so that I could both speak to, and understand the locals better. While I was learning, I also carried a ratty old Thai phrase book in my bag to flip through frantically when translation was needed.
Ordering food was easy because I could just point to menu items or photos, but asking for directions or simply striking up casual conversation was both difficult & incredibly time consuming. I remember thinking that one day (maybe in the year 3000 when we could teleport & pay for hotels using our fingerprints) we would be able to speak into some sort of technological contraption & have our conversations interpreted right on the spot. Little did I know that day was not so far away.
Earlier this month I received the CM Translator (pictured above) to take along with me during my adventures abroad & to test & review for TL Travelers like you! The CM Translator is not only small & chic with its “One Click. One World” single-button design, but it also features a battery life of up to 180 days (on standby) & 24 hours of continuous use for every charge.
The CM Translator supports six languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean & Thai), but of course it was the Thai capabilities that interested me the most!
Now, being someone who is not incredibly tech savvy, I was slightly concerned that I would have trouble navigating the CM Translator App. I knew that it was my job to review the translator all by myself, but I asked my husband & fellow travelers to oversee the setup just in case I messed everything up from the get-go (as I often do with technology).
To my delight, there has never been a product easier to set up than this pocket translator. After downloading the “CM Translator” App from the Play Store on my phone, I simply held the button on the translator to pair it, changed my language settings to “English - Thai” & we were off!
Testing the translator with a language that I was already familiar with seemed like the best idea & it seemed that as long as I spoke clearly in English, the translations to Thai came back correct (for the most part).
I also found it incredibly helpful that not only was the translation given out loud (through my cell phone) but also shown in text (in both languages) through the App. With the translations being shown this way, it is much easier to identify those moments when the translator didn’t quite understand what I was saying, or when / if a word was missed.
With that said though, I am sure you are wondering just how big this piece of equipment is. As someone who already carries with me a laptop, photo & video equipment, a cell phone, a wallet & a phrase book, just how much valuable travel space will it monopolize?
Good news - not much space at all!
Not only is the CM Translator small (much smaller than a phrase book & even smaller than your cell phone) but it is ultra-light & can easily fit in your pants pocket, side bag or purse.
As I continue traveling the world I will surely bring my translator along with me & continue to test its ease of use & accuracy for travelers like you! If you are interested in picking one up for yourself, you can do so online starting May 28, 2019 & be sure to leave us a comment letting us know which language you will be using the most!
Follow along on all of our adventures through Southeast Asia, Central America & beyond on Twitter & Instagram @TLTRAVEL, and find more inspiration for your next adventure right here on the Blog or on the TL Travel YouTube Channel. As always, stay great & travel safe, and we look forward to traveling with you soon!
Please note that the CM translator was provided to me pre-launch in exchange for my open & honest review. All opinions stated above are my own.