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"This way of learning a language made complete sense to me. Working with the SpeakEZ German course, I was able to understand more in 2 weeks than in five years of German in school!"
      -- Asbjørn Finsnes

"The way in which this method is presented provided me with language that will suit me in a foreign country instead of a collection of unusable vocabulary words.

Those who have studied languages realize that looking-up individual words cannot convey a language in the correct manner. Becoming fluent means being able to verbalize ideas ; not learning technical rules and identifying the Past Predicate Indicative.

The audio part of this method has been my favorite portion of the learning process. Not only is the pronunciation slow and clear, but it is presented so that I remember the flow of sentences and concepts.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with this amazing program; it has been a blessing for me."

-- Destiny Yarbro, College Student

Reading Online in a Foreign Language? Translation Magic at Your Fingertips!

by Nathalie Fairbanks

My friend Elaine asked me to translate a comment that someone had submitted to her YouTube account in German. Although her German is very good and she understood what the person was basically saying, a few of the nuances escaped her. Since it was a critique of her performance (she's an incredible musician), she wanted to understand every detail of it.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, reading something online in a foreign language, here are two great tools to help you out:

1. Translate a whole web page or single words within seconds!

Depending on how overwhelmed you are with all the new vocabulary, translating the whole web page can be a good idea. You'll get a chance to read it in somewhat "broken" English and get the jist of what's on there.

If you're learning that language, you'll obviously want to go back and re-read the content in the new language. If you're fairly familiar with the foreign vocabulary, translating single words might do the trick.

How do you get a whole web page translated? It's easy!

Go to HumanitAs international

You'll find all the popular translation machines in one spot. You can either translate single words or expressions, or have them translate a whole page. The bonus: it won't cost you a dime!

What I like about this site is that you have a chance to compare translations. Admittedly, machine translations can't match translations reviewed by a real person. Therefore, if you're not sure about a phrase, input it into several of the translators and see what results. My personal preference is the Google translator. I was actually quite impressed with the quality of translation when compared to the other options.

You'll find that some of the translations are quite comical, some make no sense at all, and a surprising number are right on the dot. However, as a language learner, how would you know? Look at it this way: it may not be a better translation than what you'd get if you looked up all the words in a dictionary, but it's a heck of a lot faster!

2. Translate as you go WITHOUT leaving the web page you're on!

I saved the best for last.

Have you ever been online reading content in a foreign language and come across the same word you didn't know five, ten, fifteen times in a row? And then thought, "I don't want to go through the trouble of switching windows, typing in the word and wait for the translation--I'll just keep reading?"

I've got the answer for you!

It's a little tool called gTranslate that you can install as an add-on to your Firefox browser. It allows you to go to any foreign language web site, use your mouse to highlight the word or phrase you don't understand, right-click, and get the translation immediately. It doesn't get better than that!

It's easy to do even for non-techies like myself (and doesn't cost you anything). Here's how:

a. If you don't use Firefox yet, start by installing it. It's just like Internet Explorer or Safari.

b. Then go ahead and download the add-on gTranslate (takes less than two minutes):

You can translate from just about any language to English. There are a few languages that you can translate to French and German as well.

Now, go browse the internet in your favorite foreign language. Enjoy!

© 2009 Nathalie Fairbanks

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