Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
Those who travel, whether on business or for pleasure, often find the need to communicate with individuals who speak a different language.
That wasn't a problem for me during my navy years. Bars are plentiful in every port, and it's not difficult to figure out the local name for beer.
Of course, some visitors are looking for more than a night boozing it up in a tavern. They would rather indulge in cultural activities, visit museums, and explore the local art galleries. And sometimes a trip involves business discussions with local counterparts. For these people, a reliable and straightforward translating device becomes essential.
Today I am taking a close look at the new WT2 Edge Translator from Timekettle.
My translator arrived in a sturdy, compact cardboard box. The kit includes a white clamshell case with four LEDs that indicate its battery's charge level and a type-C charging port. The case with both earbuds enclosed weighs in at less than two ounces. It is 2.3 inches wide, 2.3 inches deep, and 1 inch high.
The case contains two white earbuds. Each of these weighs five grams and is 1.4 inches long. They are fitted with a pair of beamforming microphones and a tiny speaker.
Also included in the kit are four slipcovers for the earbuds, a charging cable, and a user's guide.
This translating device is used in conjunction with a smartphone and the Timekettle application. The complete system allows users to communicate with anyone speaking one of 40 different languages and 93 regional accents.
- Manufacturer: TimeKettle
- Model: WT2 Edge
- Case dimensions: 58 x 58 x 27 millimeters (2.3 x 2.3 x 1.1 inches)
- Case weight: 53 grams (1.88 ounces) with earbuds
- Earbud length: 35 millimeters (1.4 inches)
- Earbud operating time: 3 hours
- Total operating time: 12 hours (recharged using case)
- Earbud microphones: Dual beamforming microphones and directional voice recognition
- Noise reduction: Yes
- Application: Timekettle
- Operating system compatibility: iOS ≥12 and Android ≥7
- Translatable languages: 40 plus 93 regional accents
- Offline Translation: Available
- Online Translation: Via wifi or cellular network
- Modes: Simul, touch, speaker, listen, and group chat
- Bidirectional Simultaneous Translation: In Simul mode
- Translation engines: DeepL, Google, Microsoft, iFlytek, AmiVoive, Hoya, and Timekettle
This company is trademarked by Shenzhen Timekettle Technologies Co., Ltd
Modes of Operation
Two people share the WT2 Edge translation earbuds. The words of both participants are translated in real-time for natural, bi-directional communication. The conversation should flow naturally with no awkward pauses as one speaker waits for the other to finish.
The primary speaker controls the conversation. When he wishes to speak, he taps his earbud. Then all other microphones are muted, and his message is translated and delivered to every audience member. When finished, the speaker taps his earbud again, allowing someone else to have their say. This mode is helpful when several people are involved in a conversation.
This mode is useful when the second participant is wary of wearing an earbud. In this case, he uses the associated smartphone, listening to the translated message over its speaker and utilizing the phone's microphone to reply.
This would be employed in a situation such as listening to a lecture in a foreign language. It utilizes the phone's microphone, sending the translated audio to the user's earbud.
Group Chat supports up to forty people speaking forty different languages simultaneously, making it ideal for Zoom calls and remote meetings.
The first step is to add people to the chat group. If an earbud-wearing participant speaks, the application translates the audio to text and provides translated audio to other earphone users. The application also provides translated text without a voice translation to those not wearing earphones.
Online versus Offline Translation
Timekettle runs 15 servers worldwide, which translate the voice and text of those who use their service. This service can handle 40 different languages and 93 regional accents. How fast the translation occurs depends directly on the quality of the user's internet.
My version of the Timekettle WT2 Edge included a card worth 30 fish. Each offline dictionary costs 5 fish and can be easily downloaded using the Timekettle application. These offline dictionaries cover the 8 most used languages. This option allows the translating device to be employed in areas without internet and phone service.
How the System Works
In Simul mode, two people share the WT2 Edge translation earbuds. I have selected an online translation of English and French for this example.
As the English speaker talks, his words are transferred via Bluetooth from the earbud to his phone. Then they are sent to a Timekettle server.
As the server receives the transmission, it converts it to English text and sends this back to the phone. Once a sentence has been completed, the server's algorithm determines whether it is a statement or a question and capitalizes the first letter of any word that it perceives to be a name. Context is also checked, resulting in the replacement of words that might have been mispronounced with those that make more logical sense. This edited text is sent back to the phone.
At the same time, the edited version is translated into French and transmitted back to the phone as text. Once the entire sentence is revealed on the phone's screen, it is converted to voice and transferred to the second earbud via Bluetooth.
When the French-speaking participant replies, the above operations are repeated, translating from French to English.
This device can translate 40 of the most used languages and 93 regional accents. There are, for example, 14 different English language accents to choose from, two French-language accents, and 20 Spanish accents.
Since I am an English-speaking Canadian with some French Canadian and Mexican friends, I added the offline English to French and English to Spanish translation dictionaries to my phone. When I talk to my friends using the online system, I choose the Canadian English, Canadian French, and Mexican Spanish regional accent translators.
I found this system to be user-friendly and practical. The translator proved to be exceptionally accurate when I spoke clearly, avoided overly long sentences, and kept to typical everyday conversational topics. A few words were misunderstood if I quoted from a technical manual or read from a novel. At times this forced me to repeat myself.
My internet and phone service are best described as average. From the time I finish a sentence in English, two to three seconds pass before the translated version can be heard from the second earbud. That delay would be shorter with faster internet service or an offline translator package.
This system is very versatile, with modes that cover practically any situation. If you travel frequently or hold business conversations with those that speak other languages, you will find the Timekettle WT2 Edge Translator to be an extremely useful tool.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Walter Shillington