Universal Translation Just Got Real

I am an International Filmmaker and one of the biggest challenges is to talk to or interview people from the over 65 countries that I have shot productions in. Sure, I’ve always had my Fixer on hand to do the translations but sometimes the nuances of the words get lost in the economy of trying to translate quickly. Being a loyal Star Trek fan since it’s inception, one of the devices that I’ve always wanted to see become a reality was the Universal Translator. That magic device enabled Captain Kirk to score with all those hot aliens…oh yeah, I guess he used it for diplomatic negotiations too.

But seriously, to be able to chat with someone in another language instantly for a 360 VR interview would be an invaluable help in the filmmaking process.

Then I heard about Travis the Translator. The palm-sized devices’ claim to translate 20 languages offline and 80 languages online is astounding. Launched on IndiGoGo by two entrepreneurs who love to travel, Lennart van der Ziel, CEO – From law school to start-up scene, led multiple international teams in IT consulting, successfully launched various software products, a community builder, loves making road trips. Nick NM Yap, CPO – Product geek with over 20 years of experience in creating products in three continents, countless trips made, believes travel is all about human connection.

Travis the Translator now has an international team behind them of working in three continents from New York, Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Shenzhen (China) with decades of management and product development experience, and a history of selling over 10 million mobile devices.










Travis the Translator was launched on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017 on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and was fully funded at in only three days. It has surpassed all expectations and, as of today, raised over 660 US$ with the support of over 3500 backers from more than 80 countries.









These are some pretty impressive numbers, but Travis’ story goes deeper.

Travis the Translator is the first pocket-size instant voice translator. Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with effortless voice recognition technology, it breaks the barriers between languages and allows international travelers and professionals to communicate effortlessly with anyone, anywhere.










The Travis device is superior compared with any other translation method available. It instantly translates spoken conversations with significant accuracy, without fumbling with apps that zap phone batteries or thumbing through the limited options in phrasebooks. It integrates speech recognition and translation engines from different sources, which gives our users the very best overall experience.

“We designed Travis in a way that you can use it without looking at it. This way, as Travis translates your voice, you can be engaged in the conversation, maintain eye contact and use body language,” says Lennart van der Ziel, CEO at Travis.










The Indiegogo funding will allow Travis to speed up its introduction to the market and it will help to empower refugees learning new languages around the world in partnership with the Open Learning Exchange (OLE). The translating devices will be available this summer for travelers and international professionals that helped to crowdfund Travis now and will be also used this summer as a language learning tool for Syrian refugees in OLE’s educational centers in Europe and the Middle East.

Travis has set the beginning of global language movement to transform the way we communicate around the world and invites everyone to get on board!

The team was showcasing the product at CSITF, one of the biggest International Technology Fairs in Shanghai, earlier this month and has already lined up multiple international events where it will mark its presence.

There are three main ways to use your Travis thanks to its built-in dual noise canceling microphones, amplified speakers, and support for wired/wireless earphones or headsets. With just one Travis you can:

1. Use built-in microphone & built-in speakers
This is the most common use for speaking to anyone on the street, at work, or at home. Travis hears what’s being said via its microphones, and clearly repeats what is said in another language via its speakers.

2. Use built-in microphones + earphones (wired/wireless)
This is great for meetings. Travis hears what is said via its built-in microphones, and repeats what is said in your ear via the wired/wireless earphones.

3. Use wired headset + wireless headset (standard Bluetooth or Airpods)
The perfect setting for private conversations. One of you has, for example, Travis in your pocket with a wired headset plugged in and the other person uses a wireless headset. Travis hears what is said via the headsets and translates it in the other person’s ear.

Here are the languages that Travis will Translate:

20 Offline : Spanish, German, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Portuguese, Arabic, Italian, Japanese, English, Russian, Dutch, Polish, Greek, Swedish, Korean, Hindi, Hebrew, Thai, Turkish, Indonesian

80 Online : Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Basque, Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Taiwanese), Chinese (Cantonese), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (UK), English (USA), English (Australia), Esperanto, Estonian, Farsi, Filipino, Finnish, French, French (Canada), Frisian, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kazakh, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Mongolian, Myanmar, Nepali, Norwegian, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Scots Gaelic, Serbian, Sindhi, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (USA), Spanish (Mexico), Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukranian, Vietnamese, Welsh

We are constantly listening to how we can enable you to boldly go global and speak local and spread the movement in the coming months. Let us know in the comments page about languages that you want to see in the 80 online or 20 offline languages.

I will be getting a Travis the Translator as soon as it is available to do a hands-on review. This one filmmaking tool that I am really excited to get my hands and voice on to test. I will be publishing that review in the near future.

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