Introducing a language aid tailored for the 2024 travel season. The Travelers French Cheat Sheet is not a language course, but a convenient tool designed to assist the 80% of English-speaking travelers who lack the time to learn a European language. It’s the first installment in a new series of paperbacks and companion mobile apps, offering a hassle-free solution to language barriers.

Applegate LLC’s new Cheat Sheets help travelers by scrapping the tired old phrasebook formula and replacing it with a simple glossary form.

“With old-fashioned phrasebooks, whatever word or phrase you need to look up, you have to start by guessing which chapter it’s buried in,” says editor and designer John Boykin. “For example, is Bicycle under Activities, Recreation, or Transportation? The French-speaker you are trying to talk to gets impatient while you hunt. But the glossary form takes you to the right place instantly: Bicycle is under B.”

The editor and designer John Boykin in Paris

On his tenth trip to Europe, Boykin panicked when he lost the Rick Steves French phrasebook he was depending on. But he quickly realized that he was actually no worse off without it: It had let him down far more often than it had helped. As a designer, Boykin started sketching out ideas and gathering material for the kind of quick reference tool he really wished he had. The result is Travelers French Cheat Sheet.

Why not just use a translation app?

“Translation apps are helpful for a couple of words at a time,” Boykin says, “but they tend to fall far short of their magical potential.” They tend to require Wi-Fi (which is surprisingly scarce in Europe), to be slow, to crash, to have a confusing user interface, and to mis-hear spoken input. “So they often serve up nonsensical robo-translations that may embarrass you.” Travelers French Cheat Sheet’s 3,300+ listings were all written and edited by real human experts.

A mobile app version of the Cheat Sheet with the same content as the paperback version is free to any purchaser of the paperback. The app is available through both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Anyone can try it out on a 24-hour free trial.

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