The other thing I really like about my Vasco that isn’t necessarily an intentional function of the device is that it allows me to practice my pronunciation in Turkish. Sometimes I’ll read simple sentences or difficult words into the device and see if it transcribes the words onto the screen properly before translating them into English. If it does, I know I’m pronouncing the word or sentence properly. If it doesn’t, I know I need to keep working on how to pronounce that word. This has proved much more useful than my 220-day language learning app streak and is helping me get over my fear of making a mistake when speaking Turkish without having to make the mistakes in front of anyone other than my Vasco.
I haven’t taken my Vasco beyond Turkey just yet, but I’m confident it’ll work just as well for me while traveling: It supports 108 languages in 200 countries. The device is also equipped with lifetime LTE internet which means instant access to translations without having to fumble with a Wi-Fi code or eSIM. I also really appreciate the built-in camera that works to translate things like menus or instructions fairly efficiently. Think of it as an alternative to Google Translate—but more accurate and much easier to use while on the go.
What are the cons?
The conversations between my boyfriend’s mom, Mahiye, and I are still light and playful; we mostly gently tease my boyfriend or catch up on how my family is doing back in Canada, but it gives us the freedom to communicate on a more natural level (even though she still tends to start every sentence with Hey Kait…and a brief pause as though the translation device is my personal Alexa). Although I find it adorable, the device finds this confusing and can sometimes stop recording her before she finishes her sentence, but that’s about the only hitch we tend to have.
I probably won’t use my Vasco during interactions with strangers. While it would be helpful for ordering coffee or buying groceries, I think it would feel a bit awkward and unnatural to whip out a device in those settings, as if I’m about to conduct an interview with a barista or a grocery store cashier. It has proven useful for more personal and repeated interactions, though, like effectively communicating my goals with my personal trainer while working out.
The Vasco V4 translator is definitely on the pricey side, but I think it’s worth it for travelers who tend to visit countries where they don’t know the language or where English isn’t widely spoken as a second language. It’s comparable to free alternatives like Google Translate, but reigns supreme thanks to the precision of translation and the unlimited lifetime data—gone are the days of me hastily trying to activate an eSIM at the airport or connecting to Wi-Fi before getting into a cab. It’s a great investment for anyone moving to a new country and learning a new language in tandem or who wants to be able to practice their pronunciation on demand.