Ms Last says that the Speechless Translator allowed her to have many pidgin 'conversations' which could never have happened with a normal phrase book. The imaginative point- and-communicate guide is a prototype which has never been issued commercially: go-ahead publishers take note.Reuse content
READERS seem to agree that Chinese phrase books are of questionable use (this column passim). Becky Last, however, has sent me a copy of the Speechless Translator - a compact booklet in which a variety of useful English words are expressed as Chinese characters. 'Vocal communication is disregarded entirely on the basis that it probably won't be effective anyway. I can vouch for its use, since I spent two months this summer on an Exodus expedition into some of the remotest parts of China, including the Takli-Makan Desert, where Mandarin is treated with contempt by proud minority groups, but the characters are familiar even if the dialects are incomprehensible.'