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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!
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
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
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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