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Electronic help for travelers.

A computer mainframe in the palm of your hand? Well, just about. The translator and the mileage guide pictured here are a sampling of the kinds of electronic travel gadgets available in the calculator-size range. Each costs less than 100 and could make a fine present. You'll find most of these products where electronics are sold, from department stores to specialty catalogs. Also check stores that cater to travelers. Traductores electronicos Conventional electronic transistors range in price from $30 to more than $100, usually depending on how many words are in the dictionary. A 24,000-word SpanishEnglish unit (12,000 words in each language) the size of a thick credit card costs $60. We saw one $85 unit with a 1,400word memory that can translate among English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German. The unit shown at left calls up basic phrases in categories like food, business, hotels, and social graces. You won't get the nuances a book can give you, but you can't beat the electronic dictionaries for speed. Games built into some machines can help you learn new words. More expensive electronic translators (up to $400) can "speak" words or phrases for you. Most translators have a calculator built in; some will do currency conversions. You can also buy inexpensive exchange-rate calculators that are primarily set up to do foreign currency comparisons. A hand-held freeway off-ramp guide To use the mileage guide shown here, you simply punch in the state you're in, the road you're on, the direction you're going, and the milepost or exit number nearest you (a printed reference sheet is provided for California highways, which don't use numbered markers). Then punch the button for restaurant, gas station, motel, or one of several other services. The machine will display the trade name of the nearest service and the distance to it. The guide is limited to a few major roads and major brands, but if you're driving on a well-traveled highway and the kids are screaming for pizza or cheeseburgers or a motel pool, you'll finally have a ready answer to the vacation refrain "How long till we get there?"
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Title Annotation:electronic translators
Publication:Sunset
Date:Dec 1, 1990
Words:354
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