We don't normally take too much notice of products' boastful packaging (LEC's Power Translator 9.0 Global claims to be the "proven global leader" in its crowded field), but this time something caught our eye: a spelling mistake. And not a small one, either; the letter 'r' was missing from the word 'translation'. Ouch.

Not a brilliant start – the key to a good translation utility, after all, is accuracy – so once we'd installed the software, we were keen to see how good a job it would do with foreign documents and websites. We realise that some words and phrases won't directly translate from one language to another, but we were expecting the bulk of the text converted to be understandable.

Once installed, Power Translator adds buttons and a drop-down menu to Word, Internet Explorer and Excel for your convenience.

You can translate files wholesale, use the Mirror function to give you a translated replica of a webpage and copy-and-paste text in to get it translated into English. There's a dictionary search function.

Results were decidedly mixed – an email translated from French into English wasn't great, with the disclaimer at the end making virtually no sense whatsoever. A French webpage converted into English wasn't much better.

But when handling more conventional documents, Power Translator 9.0 raised its game considerably – even if results were still far from perfect.

LEC Power Translator 9.0 Global: Specs

  • 133MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
  • 64MB RAM
  • 190MB hard disk space
  • 133MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
  • 64MB RAM
  • 190MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

LEC Power Translator 9.0 Global is convenient, but the interface is a bit clunky and the quality of the translation is patchy, to say the least. If this really is the leader, the whole translation software market has got a long way to go.

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