Traveling abroad is always fun, the language barrier, not so much. That’s why Logbar has developed ili, a brand new translation device for your next trip.
If you’re passionate about world travel – a Magellan at heart – but your global exploration is limited to language-friendly regions, this groundbreaking device by Japanese company Logbar may change up your itinerary. Introducing ili – the first wearable translator that doesn’t require an internet connection and eliminates the language barrier. Armed with a pre-loaded vocabulary library, this intuitive device can translate up to 50,000 words and phrases whether you’re in Tokyo or Beijing.
Unlike other translation devices out on the market, ili has been optimized for travel scenarios rather than one on one conversation. Things like dining, shopping, checking in and out of your hotel, navigating around and much more.
ili’s biggest standout feature is that it can be used offline.
You don’t have to waste time searching for a network and rather than typing on a keyboard or loading up an app, you just press and hold ili’s home button then speak. Logbar’s mission is to help you worry less on your trip and prevent potentially stressful situations.
As of now, ili can translate English to Japanese, Mandarin, or Spanish and more languages will be added. To add new languages and improve ili’s translation library, you can connect your device to any PC or Mac via USB and receive updates through ili’s online application software.
According to the website, the ili’s ‘intuitive user interface allows you to use the device as if you’re directly communicating with the other person’. ‘ili is loaded with a library of phrases that are commonly used by travellers, minimising translation errors,’ the site added.
‘The library also includes words associated with places and latest trends for a seamless communication experience.’ The wearable translator was first unveiled in January last year, but its website has only just got up and running.
To translate a conversation, you press the button and talk into Ili. When you release the button, it translates through a microphone that’s four times louder than the speaker on our smartphones.
The product seems helpful, but Logbar’s lackluster release of its Kickstarted Ring Zero leaves me rather skeptical about this new device. The company declined to give me a hands-on demonstration; its representatives showed off the device but did not actually use it.
Like many products at this year’s CES, Ili promises big things without giving attendees a fully functional demo.
If it does work as intended, however, it could be an essential gadget for overseas travel—as long as you’re willing to pay for a piece of tech that only does one thing.
There’s not much, physically, to the ili. It’s a little shorter than your average smartphone, roughly 1/4 as wide, but a bit thicker.
There are three buttons. The power button does what you’d expect. You hold the big one on the front to have ili listen and automatically translate. Tapping it again will repeat the phrase it just spoke. The third button repeats back what it thinks you said, in ili’s voice. If you hold down that last button it switches between the ili’s 3 languages: Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin.
It’s just a bit longer than your brain would normally expect for a conversation, but it’s fast enough that no one is going to be staring at you wondering why you’re fixated on a small, white remote control.
It’s important to keep in mind there’s no such thing as “real time translation” yet, despite what Google says. We’re still not quite there for the Star Trek-style Universal Translator that just speaks in your language while someone else is speaking. Right now it’s sentence (pause) by sentence (pause), give or take a few sentences. No translator is meant to tell your life story. Mostly it’s for asking for the bathroom. The ili does that, and a lot more.