Archive for March, 2013

New Update to Google Translate

We all know that Google Translate cannot produce decent translations but we cannot deny the fact that it is a useful tool for everyone. Since we are curious about every language, it helps a lot about understanding the general topic of a text. For example, I don’t know Italian, but when I paste an Italian text and translate it into English, I can perfectly understand what the text is about.

I’m sure we all have at least one funny story to tell about Google Translate, but we should also appreciate this technology. They have a new update and we can use it offline now!

Here is what the news about:

Google updated its Google Translate app for Android with offline support and vertical text translation. You can download the new version now directly from the Google Play Store.

The offline language packages include support for 50 languages. To use them, just select “Offline Languages” in the app menu to see all the offline language packages available for download. To enable offline translation between any two languages, you need to select them both in the offline languages menu.

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The addition of offline support is a very big move from a company like Google which is obsessed with online services and moving everything to the Web. For that reason alone it’s great to see the company a move that goes against its very DNA. Google admits the “offline models are less comprehensive than their online equivalents” but still says they get the job done “when you are traveling abroad with poor reception or without mobile data access.”

Many users have Internet access when they need to translate something, but it’s hardly a guarantee. If you’re traveling with your phone or tablet and need to figure out what something means on the go, you can now refer to your Google Translate app and get an answer without worrying about finding a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Here’s the official Google Translate 2.6 for Android changelog:

  • Translate without a network connection with offline language packages (available on Android 2.3 and above).
  • Translate vertical text in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean with your Camera.

Click here to read more.

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Language of the Week: Javanese

Aksarajawa-small2Since I’m a translator, I like learning new cultures and languages like most of you. The idea that there are hundreds of different languages makes me excited because it means there are soooooo many things to learn. Each language is a new culture and a new area of exploration. 

Although we couldn’t visit the natives of this language, let’s go over what Javanese language is and how it looks like 🙂

 

PS: The information is taken from Wikipedia. I just quote the parts that are more interesting.

Javanese language is the language of theJavanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. There are also pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java. It is the native language of more than 75,500,000 people (more than 30% of total population in Indonesia).

Javanese is part of the Austronesian family, and is therefore related to Indonesian and other Malay varieties. Most speakers of Javanese also speak Indonesian: for official and commercial purposes, and to communicate with non-Javanese Indonesians.

While evidence of writing in Java dates to the Sanskrit “Tarumanegara inscription” of 450 AD, the oldest example written entirely in Javanese, called the “Sukabumi inscription”, is dated 25 March 804.

Javanese can be regarded as one of the classical languages of the world, with a vast literature spanning more than twelve centuries. The language developed in four stages:

  • Old Javanese, from the 9th century
  • Middle Javanese, from the 13th century
  • New Javanese, from the 16th century
  • Modern Javanese, from the 20th century (but this stage is not universally distinguished)

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Javanese, like other Austronesian languages, is an agglutinative language, where base words are modified through extensive use of affixes.

Modern Javanese usually employs SVO word order. However, Old Javanese sometimes had VSO and sometimes VOS word order. Even in Modern Javanese, archaic sentences using VSO structure can still be made.

Sanskrit words are still very much in use. Modern speakers may describe Old Javanese and Sanskrit words as kawi (roughly meaning “literary”); but kawi words may also be fromArabic. Dutch and Malay are influential as well; but none of these rivals the position of Sanskrit.

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Punography

Last week, we discovered a perfect set of sentences and I’m sure you will love them all.

I published a piece of it on our Facebook page and people loved it so I wanted share it here as well. Since we are all interested in languages, these sentences are just for us, as language nerds. 🙂

These sentences are intelligently structured and they are quite amusing. I hope you also love them… 🙂

 

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Please feel free to share if you have such sentences in your mother tongue. 🙂

I want to thank the owner of this compilation but we couldn’t find him/her. Anyway, thank you for this precious sentences!

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Are You Interested in Poetics? Google Has Good News for You!

Language is a part of our life. Of course, language is important for everyone; however, we are more involved in languages since it is a life-style for us. Dealing with languages, read about languages, finding out amazing facts about languages… We all love these!

Since we are soooo involved in languages, we appreciate when we hear good and stylistic phrases and sentences. Poetry is a genre that most of us adore. I remember the days when we took “English Literature” courses… Even I tried to write some poems both in English and in my mother tongue.

Anyway. Have you recently realized that Google search results appear different than before. Google Poetics may be the reason! 🙂

So what is Google Poetics:

Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.

Google’s algorithm offers searches after just a few keystrokes when typing in the search box, in an attempt to predict what the user wants to type. The combination of these suggestions can be funny, absurd, dadaistic – and sometimes even deeply moving.

There is, however, more to these poems than just the occasional chuckle. The Google autocomplete suggestions are based on previous searches by actual people all around the world. In the cold blue glow of their computer screens, they ask “why am I alone” and “why do fat girls have high standards”.

Obviously Google is not Shakespeare, Whitman or Dickinson – it can not illuminate the unknown. But it does reveal our inner workings, our fears and prejudices, secrets and shames, the hope and longing of a modern individual.

Remember that Google updates the suggestions constantly – no poem is set in stone. If you manage to catch an awesome poem, make sure to take a screenshot right away.

Our email address for submissions is english@googlepoetics.com. Our aim is to publish all the poems that we like.

We have reached the fifth and final part of our November retrospective.More compilations:OctoberNovember Part 1  |  November Part 2  |  November Part 3 | November Part 4www.googlepoetics.com

So maybe you can also catch some good poem, right? 🙂 http://www.googlepoetics.com/

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Language as a Window into Human Nature

Reading between the lines is not so easy everytime. However, there are times that both the parties know the exact meaning of a sentence but somehow like that little game of hiding real meanings behind other sentences. Why we do that?

Here is a video by theRSAorg ob Youtube. I’ve come across this just now and I hope you’ll like the way they explain the relation between “direct” and “indirect” speech in many respects such as anthropology and psychology. Take a 10 mins break and enjoy! 🙂

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The Language of the Week: Tamil

I have realized that there are tens of languages that we’re not aware of… We only know the ones which are widely used- and it is quite normal. In my opinion, if we are not aware of a language, we are also not aware of this very culture. Culture begins with language…

I will try to write a blog post about “other” languages every week. I hope, this new series will be beneficial for you and we can learn new languages and cultures together. 🙂

You may have heard of the languages that I will write here, you can support my posts with your knowledge about these languages. 🙂

Who speaks Tamil?

Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of South India and North-east Sri Lanka. Tamil is also a national language of Sri Lanka and an official language of Singapore and Mauritius. It is also chiefly spoken in the states of Kerala,Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands as one of the secondary languages. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and was declared a classical language by the government of India in 2004. Tamil is also spoken by significant minorities in Malaysia, Canada, South Africa, Fiji, Germany, USA, Netherlands, and Réunion as well as emigrant communities around the world.

The long history of Tamil

Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world. It has been described as “the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past” and having “one of the richest literatures in the world”. Tamil literature has existed for over 2000 years.

The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts andhero stones date from around the 3rd century BCE. The two earliest manuscripts from India, to be acknowledged and registered by UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997 and 2005 were in Tamil.

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Grammar

Tamil employs agglutinative grammar, where suffixes are used to mark noun class, number, and case, verb tense and other grammatical categories. Tamil’s standard metalinguisticterminology and scholarly vocabularly is itself Tamil, as opposed to the Sanskrit that is standard for most other Dravidian languages.

Letters

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