Texas Instruments Language Tutor

Date of introduction:  August, 1979 Display technology:  Fluorescent
New price:  $250 Display size:  10 alphanumeric
Size:  8.0" x 3.4" x 1.2"    
Weight:  9.9 ounces Serial No:  23108
Batteries:  4*AA cells Date of manufacture:  wk 20 year 1981
AC-Adapter:  AC9199 Origin of manufacture:  USA (ATA)
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TMC0275, TMC0280 + Module: 4*TMC0350 
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manual:
  (FRENCH US: 6.2 MByte)
GERMAN US: 14.5 MByte)
SPANISH US: 13.7 MByte)

LanguageTutor_Back.jpg (635036 Byte)Shortly after the invention of the synthesizer technology to reproduce human speech with tuned voices stored in ROM's (integrated circuits) this Language Tutor was introduced. The product was later renamed to Language Translator. With the Language Teacher a cheaper version without the speaker was introduced the same time. 

An easy accessible "Solid State Speech™ Module" contained the software to translate from e.g. English, French and Spanish to spoken German. LanguageTutor_GER.jpg (72221 Byte)
Other modules to translate to spoken French or Spanish were available.  LanguageTutor_SP.jpg (76163 Byte)
Texas Instruments promised optional modules in English, Russian, Chinese and Japanese for $50 each. We don't know which ones really appeared. LanguageTutor_PCB_GER.jpg (51142 Byte)
Please note on the picture the piggy-back soldering to give a total memory of four 128K ROM's. LanguageTutor_PCB_SP.jpg (51845 Byte)
From the technical point of view the Language Tutor is identical to the Speak & Spell introduced in the year 1978. Main difference that time was the selling price, a Speak & Spell was only a fraction of this Language Translator. LanguageTutor_PCB.jpg (108992 Byte)
Unfortunatelly the brain of the Language Tutor is hidden under the display but we know how to use a soldering iron. LanguageTutor_DISP.jpg (25329 Byte)
The Language Tutor makes use of a TMC0275 customized Microcomputer. Probably a member of the TMS1270 family. LanguageTutor_CPU.jpg (30835 Byte)


A typical module like the French Word/Phrase module stores 360 individual words and 78 phrases that are spoken and displayed and additional 239 individual words that are only displayed. The phrases are available with the input of a two-digit number, e.g. "19" means "What is this?". To give complete sentences you could link phrases together:

bullet"7" + "209" + "433" will give you the french translation of "I would like" "a" "room".

The individual words are entered letter by letter and translated to the target language. Six possibilities were available, but each module could speak only one language:



   Keyboard Display Speaker
FRAN-ESPA French Spanish n.a.
DEUT-FRAN German French French
FRAN-ANGL French English n.a.
ESPA-FRAN Spanish French French
FRAN-ALLE French German n.a.
ENGL-FREN English French French



   Keyboard Display Speaker
ENGL-SPAN English Spanish Spanish
FRAN-ESPA French Spanish Spanish
DEUT-SPAN German Spanish Spanish
ESPA-INGL Spanish English n.a.
ESPA-FRAN Spanish French n.a.
ESPA-ALEM Spanish German n.a.


German Module

   Keyboard Display Speaker
FRAN-ALLE French German German
ESPA-ALEM Spanish German German
ENGL-GERM English German German
DEUT-FRAN German French n.a.
DEUT-SPAN German Spanish n.a.
DEUT-ENGL German English n.a.

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If you have additions to the above article please email:

© Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.