How a Language App Elevated My Trip to Budapest

How a Language App Elevated My Trip to Budapest 5616 3744 Atomic Scribe

If you’re looking for a city that showcases the best of Europe without breaking the bank, I cannot recommend Budapest, Hungary enough. Located on the Danube, the city is split into Buda and Pest, and both sections offer different yet equally appealing options for sightseeing, food, and shopping. The history and beauty is staggering. Best of all, it’s a very affordable city to visit, especially compared to big European cities that lie to the west.

The only thing I was scared about before heading off to Budapest was the language barrier. Though I had read online that many people in the city could communicate somewhat in English, I was also cautioned that it was nowhere near as easy to get by without some knowledge of the home language than in places like Berlin or Paris.

So, how do you learn a complete language in a few weeks’ time? Well, apologies, but you likely can’t. But don’t despair! Here’s my story of how just 20 minutes a day of using the language-learning app Memrise got me through two weeks of Budapest and heightened my travel experience.

My trip to Budapest was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision, so I only had a few weeks to prepare. I did as much research as I could, which advised me that learning some basic Hungarian phrases would make a huge difference to my trip.

Using the app Memrise was a no-brainer for me because I was already using it to learn German. It’s not perfect, and I think it would be difficult to become fluent in a language using only the app. But it’s a great tool when needing to learn quickly, or by using it in addition to other resources.

To Do in Budapest

  • Visit a famous bath, like the Széchenyi Baths
  • The Castle District
  • A river cruise down the Danube
  • The Christmas markets around the holidays
  • Pub crawl through the Ruins bars
  • Visit the extraordinary parliament building
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • House of Terror Museum
  • Shoes on the Danube Holocaust memorial

Best Things To Do in Budapest:

  • Visit a famous bath, like the Széchenyi Baths
  • The Castle District
  • The Christmas markets around the holidays
  • A river cruise down the Danube
  • Pub crawl through the Ruins bars
  • Visit the extraordinary parliament building
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • House of Terror Museum
  • Shoes on the Danube Holocaust memorial

The app (or web site version) teaches you basic words and phrases through courses. Many language courses were created by Memrise staff, but currently Hungarian is only available through user-submitted courses. Fortunately, there are a lot of options for these. I strongly suggest trying a course with audio so that you can hear the pronunciations, which was a huge help for me.

I tried out a few different courses through Memrise and then settled on two. The first was “Hungarian w/ AUDIO: Level 1”, which taught me “yes”, “no”, the days of the week, “coffee”, “tea”, “thank you” and other useful words. The second was “Basic Hungarian Phrases”, and it is exactly as titled. In total, I spent about 20 minutes a day combined on both, and I took the courses for about three weeks. Was my pronunciation perfect? Absolutely not. But I had at least a small amount of knowledge, and that gave me confidence to test out what I had learned.

Finally, the trip arrived, and I was so excited to try out a new language. Here is the the thing: my Hungarian was far, far from perfect. I knew “thank you”, “please”, “hello”, “how much”, and some other basic phrases that I butchered with my pronunciation, but I in no way could carry on a conversation or, in my case, understand basic questions. Mostly I was pointing and then saying basic words in Hungarian. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

But what I found was that the locals appreciated that I was trying and that I took the time to learn. I feel like I gained an experience I wouldn’t have otherwise if I had just stuck to English the whole time and expected everyone to understand me (spoiler alert: they can’t!).

But thanks to my effort, I had a waitress who taught me a few less formal phrases to use. A women at a shop felt more comfortable trying out English on me since I was trying out my Hungarian on her. Everyone was so nice, and I’m grateful that I learned something new and put myself out there despite being afraid of being wrong. And all that from using an app for 20 minutes a day.

Here’s How Your Podcast Can Reach More People

Here’s How Your Podcast Can Reach More People 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

If you’re in the podcasting business or plan to join in, you’ve made a smart move. Podcasts are everywhere these days, with the medium taking over as the likes of Serial, How Stuff Works, the Nerdist, and more have becomes go-to conversation starters.

Why are podcasts becoming so popular? One reason is easy access. Most podcasts are free and can be listened to on one’s phone, so they’re perfect for commutes, while making dinner or while bored at work (not speaking from experience here at Atomic Scribe…).

However, just because podcasts are easy to find, that doesn’t mean they’re accessible to all. If you’re Deaf or hard-of-hearing, there’s little chance for you to join in on the podcast revolution.

  • Transcripts make audio and video available to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing.

  • With the text available on your site, Google and other search engines will promote your podcast in the search results more heavily.

  • Sometimes we’re not as clear as we hope to be. Providing a transcript for your listeners ensures they can go back through your work after or while they listen.

That’s where transcription comes in. By simply providing a transcript of your podcast, you reach millions more that can’t listen to your audio.

Transcripts are also useful for those who just prefer reading while they listen or instead of listening entirely, non-English speakers who might need help with some of your content, anyone who wants to quote your podcast on social media or in an article, and to make it easier to translate your podcast into other languages.

Putting a transcript on your site also helps your content be found by Google and other search engines, which brings you a huge amount of potential new followers.

Here’s the thing: you pay for a transcript once and it’s yours to keep forever. You can keep it on your computer and search for keywords and phrases to make sure you’re not repeating yourself in a new episode you’re working on, or you can use the text to write posts, books, and so much more. It’s really a small price to pay to make your podcast accessible to everyone, including yourself!

Your App Must Be Multilingual

Your App Must Be Multilingual 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

You might notice the headline this week is a statement and not a request or suggestion. While usually here at Atomic Scribe we’re (kind of) gentle about our perception of the language services industry, this is a topic that we can 100 percent say without hesitation: you need to localize your app content to reach more people worldwide.

Because, simply, the app industry is worldwide, and it’s only going to grow in the coming years. While apps were previously most associated with gaming (which still commands a large part in the industry), with every passing day it seems to become so much more than that. Now apps provide a way to bank, shop, exercise, connect to coworkers and employees, talk to your doctor, video chat, get directions, find a place to eat, and on and on.

Given that 46 percent of app users report having paid for their apps, that’s big money, too. By 2017, it’s expected that over 268 billion downloads will generate $77 billion worth of revenue. —Entrepreneur, August 26, 2014

Users Prefer Native-Language Content

There are an estimated 400 million native English speakers worldwide, mostly in the United States and United Kingdom. Adding in secondary speakers, that number grows to a whopping 1.2 billion… but that still leaves out 6 billion people, or over 80 percent of the world’s population. That percentage could grow as the populations of India and French-speaking Africa increase more than any other region, as is predicted.

Those 800 million secondary speakers are also more likely to use an app or browse content in their first language if it’s available. According to a study conducted by Common Sense Advisory, 75 percent of participating consumers stated they prefer to buy products in their native language, and 60 percent claimed they rarely or never bought from English-only web sites. That is a huge amount of people one is missing out on by not translating content.

But here is the great news: it is incredibly easy to translate and localize your apps for new markets. Better yet, you don’t have to keep paying or pay per customer. You just pay for a translation once, and that’s it. As the revenue your app will generate by reaching millions of new people should make the initial investment worth it in no time, it’s a simple decision to make.

The Future of Online Video

The Future of Online Video 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

Do you remember what the Internet was like 20 years ago? It was already becoming a constant, and yet it was so different from today’s standards. There was no Netflix, no YouTube, no Hulu. Those three sites are some of the most synonymous with online today, and they all have one thing in common – they’re video content sites.

Cisco released a report earlier this year that predicts video will account for an unprecedented 84% of all Internet traffic by 2018. There will be almost 4 billion users by then as well, which is over half of the world’s population.

Language Barriers

While the Internet can feel like it’s making the world smaller and easier to communicate with, there are still barriers, and this will only magnify as online use grows. The first issue is the language barrier. Overwhelmingly most of the Internet is written or spoken in English, but English is not the world’s most popular native language. With population growth exploding in Asia and Africa, languages such as Hindi, French and Arabic are expected to rise, and Mandarin Chinese will still be a growing force.

Another barrier is that most video content does not have proper captions for Deaf or hard-of-hearing people, or just for those who like to use captions while they watch video (which is a large number of watchers). In the U.S. it’s estimated that almost 40 million people are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, but that really doesn’t even come close to the number of people who prefer captions and transcripts to just watching a video by itself.

What Can We Do?

The way to help combat both of these issues is to provide captions or transcripts for your video content, in English and in other languages. You just have to pay for the translation once, and then you can use it for captions, on a web site for Google indexing and SEO reach, for marketing purposes, to publish, or whatever else you want. And your video content won’t be found via a search without text, so captions and transcripts can bring more viewers to your content.

There are over 7 billion people on Earth, and a majority of those use the Internet for video content. Don’t miss out on reaching as many people as you can with such a simple process as translation and transcription.