Following on from my previous post in 2010, where I looked at the value of various apps in the market place, I thought now was a good time to reflect back – an eighth month review if you will. My clear favourite was Google Translate, simply because it had a very tangible benefit for me on my travels – it helped me communicate my nut allergy to waiters of any nationality due to my inability to speak any language other than English and my lack of willing to learn any either. After some hairy situations in Morocco, where everything was cooked in nut oil in 2006, I rather melodramatically ruled out much of the world from my future travel plans. But then I downloaded the Google Translate App and I was pretty excited at the prospect of being able to communicate to waiters; this allowed me to eat, travel and still live, all with minimum fuss.
So I decided to put it to the test in Italy on my honeymoon in June to ensure Mrs Terry wasn’t prematurely widowed – at the time of writing, she still isn’t, but I must add it is little to do with Google Translate. The problem however seems to be that while the algorithm works and is fairly accurate, it doesn’t take into account the nuances of language. You see the Italian word for ‘nut’ is ‘dado,’ so when I translated “Does this contain any nuts?” to “fa questo contiene noci?”, I wasn’t filled with confidence. Next up, I tried “I have a nut allergy” and got “Ho un allergia alle noci.” Now I’m thinking ‘noci’ must be the word for ‘nuts,’ but is it worth taking a punt on my life? I wasn’t certain, so I basically stuck to Spag Bol and Margarita pizzas. However one night, Mrs Terry and I decided to share a chocolate desert at the recommendation of the waiter. I thought to be certain, I’d show him both translations to be clear, and we ordered with some confidence. So the desert came and like a gent, I let the wife take the first bite. As the cake fell apart (M&S add-esque), it was clear that it was riddled with peanuts, which aren’t actually nuts at all, but pulses. Hence they don’t fall under the bracket of ‘noci’ or ‘dado,’ but actually ‘arrachadi’ and the waiter rightly didn’t see the need to point this out. A lucky escape, but no kisses for Mrs Terry that night. So I’ve had to review my approach to apps and accept that they can make my life slightly better, but shouldn’t be treated as a life saver, as I perhaps naively had done previously! This was previously my most valued app, but now I’ve gone back to Spotify and accept that having access to almost every decent song written in the last 80 years is a great luxury to have. That’s how I’ll treat apps from now on... What are you favourite apps and why? Share your stories below and I’ll personally buy the commenter with the best story a packet of peanuts.... [email protected]