Web Smarts


what: if you're heading to an exotic locale for your next vacation but are a bit rusty in the local tongue, fear not. Instead of fumbling with foreign language tapes and constantly flipping through that dogeared dictionary, travlang.com can help you familiarize yourself with the language of the country you'll be visiting.

BEST POINTS: Travlang has 70 languages ranging from Welsh to Basque and Bengali to Azerbaijani - all accessible for free. Click on the flag of the appropriate country and decide what you want to learn: words and phrases, numbers, directions, or additional useful information. Travlang provides audio clips of each phrase so you will know what words sound like. Native speakers say the phrases so you'll be able to hear the proper pronunciation. Also, a worldwide hotel database lets you make reservations at 30,000 hotels in 5,000 cities. At the bottom of the home page, a list of countries is given where each language is spoken and an excellent list of links that will help you prepare for your trip. Translating dictionaries and currency exchange rates are also included.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Some of the speakers on the audio clips talk quickly. Dr. Michael Martin created the Web page in 1995 after his "Foreign Languages for Travelers" grew too large for his university's server.

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