Student-made app on the rise

Those at the New York Times and Louis Vuitton have touted it. Even more, it has been heralded as a competitor to Google.

Talk Lingo is a new translating app developed by Tech alumnus Sid Lunawat. A bulk of the work, though, has been completed by current Tech students, including first-year BA major Bianca Walsh.

Walsh works around three hours each day perfecting and marketing Talk Lingo, in hopes that the app will revolutionize the way people translate modern languages.

Unlike Google Translate, which Walsh labels “really bad” compared to the app she works on, Talk Lingo uses live interpreters who call the user when a translation is needed.

Basically, Talk Lingo hires multiple live interpreters, who currently together know more than 15 languages and who can work for the app from anywhere, even at home in their pajamas.

When a user needs something translated, he or she alerts Talk Lingo by using the app. A translator then calls the user within one minute. Calls can take place over speaker phone or conference call for the user’s convenience. However, even though the app itself is free, using the service costs $1.50 per minute.

“Talk Lingo hopes to eliminate errors. There is no perfect translation currently through technology,” Walsh said.

While the app is still in its prototype stage, Walsh and other interns have gotten good responses from people including employers, travellers and students.

“Imagine you’re going somewhere and needed a taxi cab, but you didn’t know the language. That’s where Talk Lingo could come into play,” Walsh said.

According to Walsh, students who are planning to study abroad in a non-English-speaking country have been especially receptive to the idea of Talk Lingo.

Talk Lingo is a start-up that quite literally started from nothing. In fact, Walsh’s first task was to come up with a name for the app.

“Working for a start-up allows for a lot of freedom, and its been really cool to see how far it developed,” Walsh said.

Involvement in a start-up comes with a number of challenges, though.

Currently, Walsh’s biggest project is crowd funding.  She and other interns have created a page for Talk Lingo in the hopes of raising $10,000. However, according to Walsh, even if they only raise one dollar, just having people see the product and be aware that it exists is worth everything.

Talk Lingo’s next goal is to make it to the Apple and Android stores. Meanwhile, for Walsh, the hardest part is quite simply communication.

“Being a college student makes it a little easier but we still have to talk to hundreds and hundreds of people,” Walsh said.

Walsh was aware of this coming in, though, since her father created a start-up of his own.

Walsh and the other interns who work at Talk Lingo, along with the apps’ creator, have high hopes for the app. They believe without a doubt that it is the best form of instant translation available.