When I meet an attractive and well-endowed Portuguese exchange student, I feel that talk is overrated. Body language suits me juuust fine. However, when I'm lost on the streets of Istanbul and the only person willing to give me directions is a tubby middle-aged man with a flaky scalp mowing on a bulgur-crusted meat torpedo, I prefer to stick with verbal communication. And since I don't speak Turkish, plus can't understand anyone who speaks English with even the slightest accent (e.g., Salma Hayek, Ricky Gervais, Tracy Morgan), a translator like SIGMO could potentially save me from both immeasurable frustration and having to learn how to read a map.
A bite-sized electronic translating device, SIGMO accepts real-time voice input of words and phrases in 25 different languages. Set your native tongue, and then the language to which you want it translated, press SIGMO's first button, and speak. Moments later, your words audibly pipe back out in full-on French/Mandarin/Swedish/Malay. To translate from the unknown to the known language, use SIGMO's second button and follow the same process.
SIGMO is certainly far less cumbersome and faster to use than a paper dictionary, and inventor Marti Karrer maintains it similarly out-performs mobile translation apps and software. It's decent looking too. I'd definitely wear that shit like a watch and talk to my wrist all James Bond-style. Where is the nearest ice cream store? I'd ask in Italy. Where is the nearest ice cream store? I'd ask in Germany. Where is the nearest store serving food that isn't so hot it sears holes in my esophageal canal? I'd ask in Malaysia.
SIGMO caters to travelers, business people hosting or negotiating with foreigners, students learning another language, anyone with an existing device running Andriod or an iOS operating systems and a Bluetooth connection. Translations themselves stem from existing services (e.g., Google Translate) and thus far include the following languages, with more to come in the future:
English (US), English (UK), English (Australia), English (Canada), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (United States), Spanish (Mexico), French (France), French (Canada), Finish, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese (China), Mandarin (Taiwan / Hong Kong), Catalan, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Polish, Russian, Arabic, Indonesian, Hebrew, Czech, Turkish, African, Malay.
SIGMO the translation GISMO (whoa, Karrer needs to hire me to do his marketing) runs as an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign through October 4, 2013.
January 2014 Update: While SIGMO blew past its funding goal, it appears its initial production run and delivery of backers' translators is still in the works. Follow the link below to the SIGNO Website for further information and updates about future availability to the general public.
December 2015 Update: SIGMO has yet to produce functional products or deliver anything--including refunds--to their backers. Many are whispering (or shouting) about yet another crowdfunding scampaign. Read more details here.