Our New Range of Smartphone Apps

 

Now that Dr Tick-Tack has been launched we are preparing a new range of apps – including new versions of ones that we have previously released on a trial basis.

Four popular apps are closely linked in the series “Travellers’ Questions”:

MyVillage, MySeaside, MySkiResort and MyRestaurant

Like many of our earlier computer programs these four apps have been created to make life easier for travellers – whether on holiday or on business trips - and also to help them to improve their language skills. They are very easy to handle and are fun to use. Each of the four apps covers the most-frequently-asked questions needed by travellers when abroad.

You type the key word in the question you want to ask and you see all sentences that contain that word – in 2 languages:  your mother tongue and the target language that you have selected.  You tap the sentence that you want.

If you don’t know the language, you can simply show your smartphone screen to the hotel receptionist or to one of the restaurant staff - or to any local person – for them to read.  If you have some idea of the language, you can try reading it aloud, or you can learn it and, practice it a few times, and then speak it out loud. If you want to save the question, tap the sentence again. This inserts it into an email text that you can send to your laptop for printing.

Practising saying these sentences enhances your confidence enormously and the locals really appreciate visitors who try to speak their language.  It can be greatly supported by another of our apps:  MyLifeline.

MyLifeline

This app contains 330 vital words, phrases and short questions in 18 languages that people travelling abroad need to use very frequently. The languages are:  Eng Fra Ger Spa Ita Por Rus Grk Est Cro Bul Mal Chi Jap Uzb.  Other languages are being added from time to time.

You can carry your mobile phone switched on and with the app open.  When you want to find a word quickly you just type the word and it displays it immediately in your mother tongue and in the target language which you have selected.

It is very valuable for refreshing a language that you have learnt but have forgotten. Languages get rusty if they are not used frequently. It is also valuable for a language that you do not know at all. If you don’t want to risk pronouncing it, you can just call-up “Excuse me”, “Can you help me” followed by the question.  Or simply call-up “Good morning” or “Thank you” and show you mobile-phone screen to the other person.

 

MyTravel

This app is designed to help those working in hotels to improve their communications, by email, letter and telephone, with prospective and recent guests, using correct and up-to-date language and giving an efficient, friendly and courteous impression.

It is a great help to hotel employees who have not had much experience of dealing with guests and whose language skills need improving. It can greatly increase efficiency and save much wasted time in replying to letters and emails. It can greatly enhance the reputation of the hotel and lead to greater satisfaction among guests.

Foreign menus without the mystery

If you like trying foreign dishes when you are abroad you will find this app really helpful. It lists and describes 50 of the dishes most likely to appear on menus in each of 18 countries. When you are faced with a restaurant menu which gives only the name of the dish or a very short description in just a few words, you can type a few letters of any dish on the menu and it will list all the dishes that contain those letters, together with a description that will give you a clear idea what to expect if you order it.

It is also a fascinating way of finding out what dishes are popular in the country you are going to, so that you can have fun deciding, before you go, which dishes you would like to try. You might enjoy exploring the dishes on your flight there.

When you have been abroad on holiday, have you ever looked forward to a lovely meal in a restaurant only to be faced with a foreign menu that you don't understand? If so, you will love Bon appétit. It is just the app for you.

You will not have to spend your holiday living on pizza and cappuccino because those are the only items on the menu that you recognize.

On your smartphone you type a few letters from any dish on the menu and it will display the names of all dishes containing those letters, each with a brief description in English telling you what it is - not a list of ingredients nor a recipe, but just a few lines telling you enough to help you decide whether you want to try it. If that dish doesn't appeal to you, just type the name of another dish.

The app covers most of the common dishes in the cuisines of Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Greece, and includes a host of dishes from other cuisines. It also includes many less-common dishes and those served in university refectories, school dining-halls and factory canteens, as well as dishes that are eaten in the home.

Of course, it cannot cover every dish and cannot be exhaustive, as hotels and restaurants often create their own special dishes and make up their own fancy names. Chefs like using obscure culinary terms that you have never come across, just to impress you, even though it has the opposite effect. It is nearly always counter-productive. The app explains many of these mysterious terms that are often used to decorate menus and make them sound exotic and recherché. 

Letters in square brackets at the end of each description indicate the country where the dish is most likely to be found on menus. The number in brackets indicates the course when the dish is usually served, such as (1) = starter, ((4) = main course, or (5) = dessert and so on. Pressing your Help button will remind you what these codes mean.

Before you go abroad you can have fun deciding what dishes you would like to try. It is a great way to spend time at the airport waiting for your flight. Decide what desserts you would like to try in Greece or find out what interesting fish dishes they serve in Malta.

More dishes will be added in future releases, as well as dishes from other national cuisines, both within Europe and further afield.

Fish lexicon & Food lexicon

Two other apps are being released which can be used alongside Bon appétit. One is a 5-language Fish lexicon with names of all kinds of seafood. The other is a 5-language Food lexicon which gives the names of an extensive range of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, game, mushrooms, herbs, spices and nuts. Other languages will be added from time to time.

Type a few letters from the word in any of the languages and it will display the full word in all five languages.

Bon appétit and the Fish and Food lexicons have also been created as exe files which run on a Windows computer. These can also be supplied on their own to educational establishments for installing on their network. Please email us for details.