Common Tread

RevTranslator: Free app, only slightly overpriced

Sep 23, 2014

I swear, I am not making this up. Yamaha has now produced an app for iPhones and Android phones called RevTranslator that "translates" your motorcycle’s engine noises.

It works like this: You hold your phone up to your motorcycle’s engine and rev it and in a few seconds your phone gives you a translation. The app was originally created in Japanese, but now it’s available in English. Supposedly it gives different responses, depending on what kind of mood it sounds like your YZF-R6 or ratty old 1989 V-Max is in.

The app is free, but for philosophical reasons, I refuse to download it anyway, so I can’t honestly say I’ve tested it. Nor can I tell you firsthand any examples of the alleged 100 million word combinations it is capable of producing when it “translates” your engine noises. Others have cited examples such as "Running is my happiness" and "I’ve been alive and kicking since the morning! I’ve been looking forward so much to this moment when I can talk to you. Now I don’t know what to do."

Unfortunately, it never seems to tell you something useful, such as, “The exhaust valves on the number two cylinder are a little tight.”

The existence of this app makes me sad on two levels.

First, I can’t help but wish that Yamaha had spent this money making their motorcycles better, instead of creating an utterly useless app. Yamaha could have spent the money on something like, oh, I don’t know, maybe using real metal for the FZ-09 fork springs instead of making them out of yakisoba noodles scavenged from the Dumpster behind the restaurant next to the factory. Or giving the Super Ténéré more than one horsepower per $150 of MSRP.

Second, the app has already been installed more than 10,000 times from Google Play alone, which leads me to fear the human species may not have enough intelligence to ensure continued survival.

Stupid motorcycle-themed ways to waste your time becoming ever more engrossed in your iPhone? There’s an app for that.