The Mission

The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

No speako da lingo

Chinese, Mongolian, Russian, Belarusian, Polish, Czech, German - do I need to go on? I don't speak any of these languages and nor does Richard.  What's going to happen then when we are in a Mongolian blacksmith's workshop late at night with a broken leaf spring?  How will we explain our welding requirements in a way that gives us a fighting chance of getting the car back on the road?

I've downloaded some translation apps for my iPhone that I think may be helpful.

  • Waygo - This little beast can translate Chinese road signs by holding the iPhone camera up to them. I tried it on some roadsigns on my computer screen and it was bloody marvellous.  Moreover it can do this without an internet connection.
  • iTranslate - You speak into the iPhone's microphone and iTranslate instantly speaks in the target language.  Amazing and pretty accurate.  You can pass the phone backwards and forwards between two people to have a conversation, but no Mongolian.
  • Google Translate - Similar to iTranslate but not as neat, doesn't have the conversation option but does cover 80 languages rather than 42, including Mongolian.

Here's a comparison of the last two, I think they say the same thing in translation, whether it is correct or not I've no idea:

Unfortunately both iTranslate and Google Translate need an internet connection so probably not much good in a blacksmith's workshop in Mongolia.

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