Yesterday I wrote an article about the awesome new Arabic to English translator from Sakhr Technology. After a few hours Otis Jones of Codetalker Technologies, Inc. posted a comment on the article to let me know about the service his company offers. Codetalker offers a translation solution that isn't based on software technology.
If you have a BlackBerry phone, you can sign up for the Codetalker service. You buy a certain amount of minutes, install the Codetalker suite, and then have access to their bank of over 3,000 interpreters (there's no mention of how many translators are actually on call at any given time). Codetalker has translators for “over 175” different languages.
The whole service is designed to be as convenient as possible. All you have to do is select which language you need translated, and you are straight-away connected to your translator. No entering of PIN numbers or account verification necessary. That's a customer service feature that sounds seriously useful in the sort of situations Codetalker is designed for.
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Of course, their service is only a stopgap. While their rates are pretty reasonable (33 bucks for 15 minutes, which should actually buy you a fair amount of use) they will be much less competitive when a company like Sakhr releases a civilian version of their translator. It will probably end up being a while before technology like that is available on the open market though. In the mean time, Codetalker should clean up among businesspeople traveling overseas. I doubt their appeal will broaden until they start offering service for non-BlackBerry mobiles.