Posts Tagged ‘english learning’

Japan Firm Launches Real-Time Telephone Translation

Several times, I witnessed Google Translate translating between similar languages almost without a mistake; however, when it comes to more challenging language pairs, there is really nothing it can do! 🙂 

Since we should be aware of every advances in our field, I want to share Hurriyet Daily News’ article with you:

Japan’s biggest mobile operator said Monday it will launch a translation service that lets people chat over the telephone in several different languages.

The application for NTT DoCoMo subscribers will give two-way voice and text readouts of conversations between Japanese speakers and those talking in English, Chinese or Korean with a several-second delay, the firm said.

“Hanashite Honyaku” will be a free application that can be used on smartphones and tablet computers with the Android operating system, DoCoMo said.

Customers will also be able to call landlines using the service, it said, adding that voice-to-text readouts will soon be available in French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

“We hope that with this application, our subscribers will be able to widen the range of their communication,” a company spokeswoman said.

However, she conceded the service does not offer perfect translations and has trouble deciphering some dialects.

DoCoMo also said it has launched a separate service that lets users translate menus and signage using the smartphone camera.



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More Natural Pronunciations for Online Language Learning

Finally, I found a website with natural sounding pronunciations for online language learners. I have introduced many websites before; however, the pronunciations all have a kind of mechanical sound. This one, although including only basic words, is more realistic if you want to try new languages in your spare time! I just tried Arabic and I already learned the numbers! 🙂


There are 11 language options. When you move your pointer over “French”, for example, you can see a brief info about the language and the flags of the countries where French is spoken.


When you select a languages, you see different types of conversations.


Let’s say you click on “My Home”. You see the whole plan of a home and you can click on any subject and hear the pronunciation.


You can also visit each room and click on anything! You can cook meal and see what’s in the fridge…

This is quite funny and exciting because you eventually learn some words and hear the exact pronunciations…


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Tips From A Guy Who Speaks 50 Languages!

50 languages! I guess my brain would be like a vegetable soup. 🙂 So far, I have attempted to learn 5 different languages (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German)  and I could only continue with 2 of them. Even I just know 3 languages, English, Turkish and French, I sometimes mistaken French words with English ones… For example, the other day I wrote “biere” instead of “beer” in a translation! 🙂 It was so embrassing though. As translators, it is our dream to know as many languages as possible, isn’t it?

However, there are some genius people who can speak more than 10 languages. I’m sure they get confused from time to time but it should be great to know that you can communicate millions of people! What a confidence! I came across an interesting article about learning languages. There are some tips from a guy who “knows” 50 languages:

One of the most famous language learners alive today is Alexander Arguelles, a linguist who has learned over 50 languages (some of them dead, admittedly) and has developed a couple of techniques that he shares with people online. You can learn all about his techniques on his website — he makes instructional videos available for free — and a lot of people swear by them.

Here’s his famous “shadowing technique,” where students listen to the language with simultaneously speaking it out loud and reading along with it in a book. Arguelles describes it like this:

The videos I have made about Shadowing demonstrate and discuss the proper form for using my technique of shadowing or listening to and simultaneously echoing a recording of foreign language audio that accompanies a manual of bilingual texts . . . In order to shadow most effectively, it is important to observe three points:
1. Walk outdoors as swiftly as possible.
2. Maintain perfectly upright posture.
3. Articulate thoroughly in a loud, clear voice.

He also recommends his “scriptorium technique,” where students write the language while simultaneously speaking it out loud. He writes:

In order to do this properly, you should:

1. Read a sentence aloud.
2. Say each word aloud again as you write it.
3. Read the sentence aloud as you have written it.

The whole purpose of this exercise is to force yourself to slow down and pay attention to detail. This is the stage at which you should check all unknowns in grammars or dictionaries.


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Best Libraries Around the World, Part #1

I know you guys love books. People who are interested in languages love reading and books as well. Somehow, we instinctly know that learning involves reading. 🙂

However, a lot variables may affect the reading experience. The most important one of them is the atmosphere. While you can read for hours in a place you like, you can read and read the same line without understanding a word in another place. With this in mind, I searched the best libraries around the world. Let’s see what I’ve found:

Canadian Library of Parliament-Ottawa, Canada

Abbey Library of St. Gall- Switzerland

Admont Abbey Library- Austria

Bibliotheca Alexandrina- Alexandria, Egypt

British Museum Reading Room- London, England

El Real Monasterio de El Escorial- Madrid, Spain

Mitchell Library- Sydney, Australia

National-Library, Site Richelieu -Paris, France

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Strahov Theological Hall- Prague, Czech Republic

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Why to Choose a Major about Foreign Languages

You have tens of reasons to study in a department related to foreign languages. It can be literature, translation, interpreting or simply foreign language education. Such majors kind of broaden your mind and you happen to obtain a global vision. Vista Wide has made a list of skills that one can obtain through foreign language majors:

Cultural Competencies of Foreign Language Majors

• cross-cultural communication
• understanding of cultural differences
• knowledge of culturally specific behavior, customs, and values
• language competence for speaking, writing, reading and listening
• understanding of target culture, history, literature, music, and folklore
• appreciation of diversity
• sensitivity to cultural issues
• awareness of differences in cultural perspectives
• global experience
• ability to adjust to new environments
• ability to interact effectively with peoples of different backgrounds

Analytical Skills of Foreign Language Majors

• critical thinking
• analyzing and comparing cultures
• creating and clarifying ideas
• gathering and analyzing information
• defining and analyzing complex problems
• weighing values and assessing needs
• ability to conduct research

Communication Skills of Foreign Language Majors

• clear and concise writing
• understanding of audience needs
• ability to persuade / influence
• effective use of language
• listen and clarify well
• oral presentation and public speaking

Practical / Organizational Skills of Foreign Language Majors

• oral and written comprehension
• following oral and written instructions
• attention to detail and good observation skills
• ability to instruct / motivate
• computer skills
• generating innovative ideas and solutions
• identifying resources
• evaluating / assessing processes and products
• ability to work cooperatively and to coordinate work with others
• flexibility in learning and thinking
• ability to take risks
• overcoming obstacles and barriers
• independent thinking

Do you agree? 🙂

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Basic Conversations in 22 Languages

I published many web sites about online language learning. However, this one attracted my attention more because it also displays the dialogues with simple and funny cartoons. You can select the language pairs and there are 22 different languages. Moreover there is audio option. You should give it a try! 🙂


There are hundreds of sentences that may be useful in your travels. 🙂


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Grammar is Who You Are

Well, first of all, I have to say that I’m not a native speaker, so I accept that I have some grammar mistakes in my English articles. However, it is something I cannot tolerate in Turkish. When I see a grammar mistake somewhere, especially on the internet, the page suddenly loses its credibility in my mind.

Grammar is one of the criteria showing how educated you are, how much effort you put in a work and how much you care about your public profile. For this reason, I read several times what I write. When I happen to have some grammar mistakes somewhere, sometime, I really feel ashamed because it is not who I am!

I do not know if you feel the same or not; I know that some people agree with me. Kyle Wiens who writes for Harvard Business Review, has a great article telling the importance of grammar. I paste the parts that I find most interesting. You can always read the whole article by clicking the link at the bottom:

If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.

Some might call my approach to grammar extreme, but I prefer Lynne Truss’s more cuddly phraseology: I am a grammar “stickler.” And, like Truss — author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves — I have a “zero tolerance approach” to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid.

Grammar is relevant for all companies. Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn’t make grammar unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there, and they’re.

On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right?

Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with. So, even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write.

Grammar signifies more than just a person’s ability to remember high school English. I’ve found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling parts.

About the author: Kyle Wiens is CEO of iFixit, the largest online repair community, as well as founder ofDozuki, a software company dedicated to helping manufacturers publish amazing documentation.

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That’s Why English is Hard to Learn

We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.

And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot… would a pair be beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set is teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?
If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn’t the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.
So our English, I think you will agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.


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You Should Read These Books Just in Two Months!


Have you seen this project? If you do not read these books in 2 months, the words and sentences just fade away! So you have to read them right after you buy. It aims to increase the rate of reading books; however, I do not quite like it. I love collecting books and form my own library. It is a kind of legacy and I want my children to read the books I bought from New York, Virginia, Belgium or France… I know this feeling and it feels good 🙂 I, myself, have inherited many books from my grandad. I love even their smell. So in short term, this project is quite interesting but it is not for such big fans of books- like all the translators out there 🙂

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What does “Third World Country” Mean?

Before reading this article, I used to think that the term “Third World Country” means something about the rateof development; however, this is just a rough generalization and misconception. As language-lovers and translators, we should pay extra attention to such sensitive issues. We can offend the reader or even get very negative reactions. We should use more general and “rounded” terms instead of certain expressions when the issue is controversial.

Here is the article explaining what “Third World Country” means. I hope it is informative! Thanks DAVEN HISKEY for this precious information.

Today I found out a “Third World” country is not a country that simply is primitive, underdeveloped, or poor, as most people think.  In fact, a third world country is actually just a country that is not considered a capitalist country (first world) and not considered a communist country (2nd world).

This terminology was originally coined just after WWII with the “first world” countries being roughly all the countries that were aligned with the United States after WWII with more or less common political and economic structure (capitalists); the “second world” countries were all those that roughly aligned with the Soviet Union in terms of their political and economic structure (communists and socialists); the “third world” countries were just everybody else.

This “everybody else” meaning included an awful lot of countries that were underdeveloped or poor.  Through time, this has given rise to the misconception that “third world” means only countries that are underdeveloped and poor, even though there were, and still are, many countries in this group that are very well developed and a few of them are among the wealthiest nations in the world.”

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