A few years ago i downloaded an ectaco software
program to my PDA as i was doing business in China
I could speak English
(australian) into it and it would translate my comment into Chinese Text (mandarin)
It did work "sort of" with a very limited variety of travel words.
I see they now have newer versions and I wonder If anyone has had experience with systems like this.
It must be handheld and not too expensive, I just want simple communciation beyond the phrase book.
It shows a respect for their culture if you are trying to communiciate with them.