The Kindle line of e-readers has always excelled in their intended roles and the latest iteration of Kindle, the Kindle 3, is the best example of this so far. What’s more, the Kindle also comes bundled with other goodies such as interactive games, a web browser, and so on.
About the latter, while the web browser is severely restricted in its functions, it can accomplish a few useful tasks. For example, you can access Wikipedia from anywhere on earth. Then there is a Translation feature that one can make use of, though it fails to live up to the high standards reputed to Kindles. Fortunately, that has been dealt with, courtesy of Kindlefish, something that owes its existence to Gadget Lab reader Nicholas and covers up all the shortcomings attributed to the Google translator. Kindlefish is Nicholas’ tribute to the universally acclaimed science fiction character “Babel fish” (from Douglas Adams’ five part Hitchhiker’s trilogy) that can instantly translate anything it hears.
So how good is the Kindlefish really? To begin with, the interface is as simple as it could get, comprised of a space for entering the input language and a translate button. There are also three buttons which can be set to any three languages which you feel you require the most. The input language meanwhile is set to English by default. So all that is needed to be done is type in the phrase which you wish to translate and hit the ‘Translate’ button and there you are. The translated text is shown in big font size that can be shown to people around for easier communication when you are in a foreign country. For instance, you can still get what you want when you can show the relevant text to the waiter without having to resort to charades.
However, while the translating bit works just fine, what mars the overall positive factor is the browser itself which is lousy at best. The mode of entering text via the Kindle’s keyboard is just not the most convenient experience. Perhaps the world at large is fast adapting to touch screen mode of entering text. However, if you can put in a bit of patience, the Kindlefish can be thoroughly rewarding.