Talkman review

"I said SAUSAGE, EGG AND CHIPS, PLEASE!" Let Sony's PSP translation tool salvage your international reputation with a giant talking blue bird...


  • Pronunciation games for practise
  • Tons of phrases for all occasions
  • Value for money


  • Impractical in real situations
  • Translations are approximate
  • Max is annoying. Kill him

As every Englishman knows, speaking foreign languages is impossible. Spend three years ramming your ears with schoolboy German and, at best, you'll be able to order a pork sandwich and tell girls you like swimming.

Get a GCSE in French and - at most - you'll be able to ask for directions just well enough for some sneering garcon to reply in perfect, contemptuous English.
Blunder outside Europe and things get even trickier - Korean comes with an alphabet that involves 'stacking' letters on top each other, Japanese has two-thousand characters to remember and Chinese has five different tones that can completely change the meaning of, say, 'Ma.'

Why not just stick to England, thicky? The Peak District's lovely this time of year, apparently. If this is your attitude, you clearly need Talkman. It's pitched less as an interactive phrasebook and more as a clever way to meet/impress people and have fun.

Instead of simply looking up phrases and saying them yourself, the reasoning goes, why not remove all the embarrassment of dodgy pronunciation by simply getting a talking bird called Max to do the chatting for you? No, really, why not?

First up, the technology's clearly excellent. Though you might have to give your patter a Yankee twang - this is the US English edition, after all - it'll pick up several thousand phrases with accuracy.

It works via key words, so 'Would you like a coffee?' will offer up alternatives like 'Would you like to have a cup of coffee with me?', 'Would you like to go to this place with me?' and, bizarrely, 'It's really cold, isn't it?' Pick one of these and Max will burble out the equivalent in whatever language you've picked, then, er, do a little dance.

If you trust the other person with your PSP, you can let them reply, switching the on-screen text to their language and giving them a list of responses ranging from 'Yes!' to 'Please go away.'

'Emotional' questions - like ones that you might try to chat someone up with - offer the option to include degrees of emphasis, with Max winking, fake-blubbing or flinging confetti, depending on whether you opt to go positive or negative.

More Info

GenreOther Games/Compilations
DescriptionThis six-language translator offers good value for money but is a bit too limited to be essential
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