Back in the day when airplane travel offered more amenities, Northwest Orient provided its passengers a unique service. “Cards That Talk” is a playing card deck that has 53 useful English phrases and their Japanese, Korean and Chinese translations. “Just show the card with the phrase you wish to say . . . and the card will speak for you.” An Ace will say “Thanks”, a Queen will hail a cab, and a Jack will demand to see the manager. As Northwest says, these cards “And a little waving of your hands. . . you should be ‘speaking the language’ in no time!”
The cards are not available any longer, nor is the airline (absorbed by Delta a number of years ago). But these cards are still useful. Print them out, cut them up, mount them on a durable surface and forget about the translation app on your smart phone.