Water puppetsA great way to experience local culture when travelling is to visit the theatre, particularly in countries with a strong theatrical tradition.

For example, when I visited Hanoi a few years ago, I made time to attend a water puppet performance. Water puppetry is a traditional art in this part of Vietnam. However, whilst it was interesting to watch, it was sometimes hard to follow the storyline as the songs were sung in Vietnamese.

It’s a great way to immerse yourself in a language, but what if you want to enjoy the show in your native language?

A British company has come up with a solution – hand held translation devices called ‘AirScript’. These small screens provide a real time translation of what is happening on stage, in eight different languages including French, Russian and Japanese.

Whilst only available at The Shaftesbury Theatre in London at the moment, the devices could become popular with theatre-goers.

I guess using the device is a decision between becoming immersed in the visual aspects of the performance, and knowing precisely what is said. Which would you choose?