Summer is the time everyone looks to get away – especially to more exotic locations. And while that may mean exploring new cultural hotspots, beaches, museums and more, it also means meeting new people. So, what do you do if you don’t speak the native language?

TripLingo – a mobile phrasebook and translation app powered by Nuance voice technology – has got you covered. We recently caught up with TripLingo creator, Jesse Maddox, on what you can do with TripLingo, how he got the idea for the app, and some of his favorite phrases.

Nuance: What does TripLingo do?

Jesse Maddox: TripLingo is a mobile app that has quick tools and tricks to help any traveler overcome a language barrier effectively while traveling abroad. We recognize that travelers have a variety of different needs when it comes to the language barrier and offer them a suite of tools that help them communicate in a foreign language and make the most of their trip abroad.

Nuance: What inspired you to create TripLingo?

JM: I spent a year and a half in Vietnam, and it didn’t take me long to realize that the language barrier would be a problem. I tried many other language tools but realized that they mostly focused on fluency and long term language learning, whereas travelers on shorter trips have different needs. So, I studied with a tutor in Vietnamese and in the process of learning Vietnamese I was able to get insight into how to make a product that truly addressed the needs of travelers.

Nuance: Aside from translation, what else does TripLingo offer?

JM: For every language we have over 1,200 practical phrases in 4 versions – formal, casual, slang, and crazy. In addition, we have learning tools like flashcards that can instantly connect you to a live translator if you need it. We also have a culture crash course for each phrase so you can learn the different contexts of the phrase that you are learning and using. Our enterprise solution also includes a special safety section with instant access to critical phone numbers, including the ability to talk to a live translator directly on the phone.

Nuance: What’s the funniest slang term you’ve used with TripLingo?

JM: The most fun one is the Italian version of ‘that was delicious’: “Da licarsi i baffi!” which translates to “It’s so good I’m licking my mustache!” Whenever I use that when I’m traveling in Italy, people crack up. I even had my wine bill comp’d once by a waiter because he thought it was so funny.

Nuance: What kind of feedback have you gotten from users?

JM: Feedback has been amazing. We’ve consistently had 4.5 (out of 5) star ratings. We’re really encouraged and excited about the response we’ve gotten with this app and the constant feedback we have.

Nuance: What’s next for TripLingo?

JM: We recently released “TripLingo Business Class” for enterprises that do a lot of travel and are starting pilots with some major customers. We’re close to announcing a major partnership in the cruise industry, and are currently working on our Version 3 release – so we definitely have our hands full!

Ready to be a living language phenom when you travel? Get TripLingo for iPhone or Android now.

And stay tuned to NuanceMobileLife and @NuanceMobile for more tech news and updates.

Tags: ,

Marya McLaughlin

About Marya McLaughlin

Marya McLaughlin has served as a communications engagement specialist in Nuance’s Mobile & Consumer division since joining Nuance in the fall of 2012. She works to grow and engage the Nuance Mobile & Consumer customer base by implementing defined social media strategies, leading the creation of relevant content for all mobile-related social properties, and engaging with users of Nuance products on a day-to-day basis. Prior to Nuance, Marya worked at Sonicbids, a Boston-based music booking and promotions company, where she assisted in the national promotion of Sonicbids, championed campaigns for large festivals like SXSW and CMJ, and defined and coordinated programs to build brand awareness with artists, venues, media, and the broader music industry. Marya lives in Waltham, MA where she’s active in the Boston music scene, and records and performs with her band, Slow Century. She graduated from New York University, where her passion for marketing, music and tech was fostered through a number of internships.