Electronic Translator, PhoneTag, Kodak V1073

A monthly rundown of the latest gadgets that can help you succeed in real estate.

August 1, 2008

Translate Prospects into Buyers

Eager to converse with sellers and buyers whose native tongue isn’t English? Now, there’s no need to hire a high-priced translator to respond to such questions as “How much does the house cost?” In this case, you’ll be able to respond: “E un rub” or “It’s a steal” with the small 5-ounce, battery-operated Speaking Global Translator. The device allows you to translate a host of words and phrases in a dozen languages—English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, and more. Write up to seven lines of text at a time on the 2.5-inch-wide LCD screen, and the Translator answers either with a phonetic translation or in a clearly spoken human voice. The tool also comes with a USB port, MP3 player, currency and metric converter, and world clock. $229.95. Franklin Electronic Publisher, Burlington, N.J.; 800-266-5626.

Better Connections

Even with a good mobile phone, there are times when you miss important calls. You may be at an open house and have a poor connection or may have turned off your phone during a key meeting, for example. PhoneTag, which works with any cell phone network, quickly transcribes voice mail to text or e-mail messages. “It takes 72 seconds on average to listen to a 60-second voice mail because of the time to dial in, but this service allows you to read the same length voice mail in seven seconds,” says David Gerzof, the company’s chief marketing officer. PhoneTag offers unlimited storage space, so you never have to delete messages, and your callers won’t get the annoying message “Sorry, this voice mailbox is full.” Three pricing plans are available. PhoneTag, New York; 800-788-0916.

Lights, Action, Camera!

Kodak’s new smart V1073 camera, released in March, takes the guesswork out of shooting a photo by detecting the scene—whether a façade, backyard, or interior—and automatically adjusts settings. The camera’s technology brings up highlights and plays down shadows. The camera also shoots high-definition video with the length dependent on the memory card purchased. Instead of buttons, the camera uses touch-screen technology for easier use. Measuring about 3.6 by 2.2 inches, the V1073 tucks into a pocket or purse. $249.95. Kodak, Rochester, N.Y.; 800-421-6699.

Barbara Ballinger

Barbara Ballinger is a freelance writer and the author of several books on real estate, architecture, and remodeling, including The Kitchen Bible: Designing the Perfect Culinary Space (Images Publishing, 2014). Barbara’s most recent book is The Garden Bible: Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Space, co-authored with Michael Glassman (Images, 2015).