Don't speak the language? Here's help

Business Jet Traveler » December 2008
in a foreign country, travelers can simply point to a picture to communicate.
Monday, December 1, 2008 - 4:00am

Do you resort to charades to make yourself understood in countries where you don't speak the language? If so, you'll appreciate ICOON, a book based on an idea so simple you'll wonder why no one thought of it before. Described as a "global picture dictionary" by German publisher Amberpress, the 100-page, softcover book contains 2,800 icons and 400 photos of items travelers might want to describe. To communicate across language barriers from Reykjavik to Rawalpindi, all you have to do is point to the appropriate images, which are arranged in 12 categories, such as food and beverage, travel, accommodation, hygiene and health.

Those images are surprisingly specific. Looking for chocolate-hazelnut spread to put on top of your rice cake, or saffron to go with your pomegranate? The pictures you'll need to explain these are here.In the health section, meanwhile, a series of drawings depicting various maladies would certainly suffice to tell a doctor what ails you.

The compact volume, which slips easily into a briefcase or backpack, is available online at www.icoon-book.com.

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““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”

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