Price: free Download on the App Store
Nervous about traveling someplace where you cannot speak the language? Fear not. ICOON global picture dictionary by AMBERPRESS is less complicated than any translation phrasebook I have used and it is handily accessible right on your iPhone.
Yes, you will still want to learn to say please and thank you so you can look like a polite — instead of rude — tourist or business traveler, but with ICOON you do not have to try to conjugate verbs or worry about mangling the pronunciation of rarely-used foreign words in your phrasebook. Your high school foreign language teacher might be disappointed in your efforts if she caught you traveling with ICOON, but her displeasure is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with this basic app.
ICOON is one thing: pictures. It contains over 500 pictures in 12 categories, such as Hygiene, Money, Accommodations and Food. Though I cannot identify every single picture, most of them are obvious and some are quite humorous.
There are lots of pictures for emergencies, ones I hope I never have to use. One picture contains a gun, a marijuana leaf and a person in handcuffs. Another shows what looks like acid dripping onto a burning hand. Only a few pictures are a bit harder to understand. What if I think I am asking to buy a nail file but I end up with a pencil? In cases like these, I would prefer it if the English words and some foreign language translations were available on the app, too, like if ICOON were combined with Talking Phrasebook or Linguo. A search function would also be helpful.
The Emotion section of ICOON is fun and goes beyond the standard happy, sad, angry and surprised. There are faces that can be translated as “I swear, I’m innocent” (whistling with angel halo), “I’m in love” (big hearts for eyes) or “I think I’m drunk” (bubbles floating above the head). The Measurement category, on the other hand, is a mystery to me. I like to imagine that I am of average intelligence but I have absolutely no idea what this category means and what the pictures represent. One image in this area was of Frankenstein juxtaposed with Miss Universe. Perhaps I will be traveling abroad one day and have some need I have not thought of yet and this picture will suddenly make sense.
ICOON is so easy to use, and while it may be best to learn to speak the language of the country to which you are traveling, this is not always realistic. When I am traveling somewhere that a foreign language is spoken, you can be sure ICOON will be on my iPhone.